About Co-design

Co-Design is a way of improving services with people with disability.
Co-design focuses on understanding and improving peoples experiences of services as well as the services themselves.
This is the web version of the Co-Design Toolkit. Please use the below buttons to download the Toolkit in PDF and Text-only versions.


What this toolkit provides

This toolkit will provide you with directions on how to successfully engage, connect and co-design with people with disability.
Should you have a specific enquiry or require specific training, please contact us at [email protected].


Table of Contents







Co-Design Principles



About Engage

Establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships with people with disability to understand and improve services. This critical element underpins all improvement work and is continuous throughout.

Example: Connect With Me Project Steering Committee


About Plan

Working with people with disability and organisational management to establish the goals of your improvement work and how you might go about achieving them.

Route Maps

Route maps are used to demonstrate how to proceed with a particular activity.

Route Map Example: Develop

Example A: Route map to Develop a new service

  1. Start-up meeting
  2. Planning workshop
  3. Journey Mapping
  4. Stakeholder needs comparison
  5. Prototyping
  6. Service blueprint

Route Map Example: Improve

Example B: Route map to Improve an existing service

  1. Start-up meeting
  2. Planning workshop
  3. Journey Mapping
  4. Shadowing or lived experience stories
  5. Ideas groups
  6. The biggest difference

Route Map Example: Solve

Example C: Route map to Solve a specific issue

  1. Start-up meeting
  2. Planning workshop
  3. Shadowing
  4. Journey Mapping
  5. Prototyping


About Explore

Learning about and understanding the experience of people with disability in using services and identifying improvement ideas.

Journey Mapping

A journey map is a diagram of a person’s service experiences. Identifying, mapping and planning the service experience can identify ways to improve.

Information is recorded in a way that suits the situation - could include audio or video. All approaches rely on note-taking by or on behalf of people, which needs to be managed carefully.
Two main methods are individual interviews or working with groups of similar people or who have similar service experiences

Process of Journey Mapping

  1. Start your interview or workshop from the perspective of the person, the families and other supporters (noting families and supporters have significant journeys). Draw out stories from beginning to end.
  2. Divide stories into phases to understand how the journey changes. Three to five phases is usually good.
  3. Write down the phases on a large sheet of butcher paper. This is known as a journey sheet.
  4. Ask people to describe their overall experience of each phase in more detail.
  5. You could use a scale from one to ten to rate feelings and write it on the sheet. Record feelings at each phase.
  6. Ask people to highlight any especially good and bad service experiences in each phase. Summarise the experience on the journey sheet. Record any details about specific service elements on a separate sheet.
  7. Thank the people on their ‘map’ and on the insights and opportunities it affords.
  8. Develop a master version by including all the different versions you have. If people want to keep maps, you could take a photo to make sure you have an accurate record.
  9. Add any observations of your own, asking for comments.
  10. Ask for feedback on the map.

Please keep in mind that:

Journey Mapping Path

Assumption Busting

Please follow these steps to use the Assumption Busting Tool:

Exercise: Assumption busting


About Develop

Working with People with Disabilities to turn ideas into improvements that will lead to better experiences.

Stakeholder Needs Comparison

Improvements and Benefits


About Decide

Choosing what improvements to make and how to make them. Success depends on understanding the requirements of people with disability and their insights about service improvements.


This refers to social media platforms and other online spaces that are used to engage with consumers to improve products and services.

Different people use online media differently and it can be used to target people based on who they are, where they are and how they live.

It can be a way of sharing options that have been developed to bring people together in a collaborative decision making process

Commonly used online platforms include Facebook and Twitter. Facebook can be used to share information, gather feedback and make decisions. This might be done on a public page or in a closed group that has been set up for invited participants to address a specific issue. Twitter can be used to ask open ended questions or conduct brief surveys. Other examples include Loomio and Doodle polls, where decisions can be made without meetings.

There are regular reports about social media use available online that can help you decide which social media channel best suits your purpose.

Organisations that undertake co-design may develop a dedicated website or webpage that is used routinely to engage with a target audience.


About Change

This step records evidence of the difference an improvement has made to the experience, what the change is, which part of the service made the change and the evidence of the difference and improvement has made to the experience of people with disability.

This tool focuses on the person’s experience and explores improvements without needing a lot of detail about the current experience, by comparing and contrasting new experiences with the current.

The Biggest Difference Tool

You can use this tool to evaluate a prototype or pilot version of an improvement, or to monitor the performance of an improvement after implementation.

The Biggest Difference Template

Please follow these steps to fill the Biggest Difference template:

Sample Questions

Service Blueprints

A simple blue print records the steps within a business process or service. It documents what happens during the interaction between the customer and the organisation and what happens behind the scenes. It records customer actions and the organisations response. It also documents the business activity needed to support the interaction and the business systems/or processes required.

Each customer action is listed separately and occurs over an expected time frame.

Example: using an Expression of Interest (EOI) process

Co-Design Principles

Principles to follow


  1. Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  2. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  3. National Disability Strategy 2010-2020
  4. National Standards for Disability Services
  5. UN Declaration on rights of Indigenous Peoples
  6. Disability (Access to premises – building) Standards 2010
  7. Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984
  8. Equal Opportunity Act 1984


PWdWA Inc. would like to acknowledge the following people and organisations:

PWdWA Inc. would like to acknowledge that this co-design guide was adapted from:


This Co-design training toolkit is made available by PWdWA for information purposes as well as to give you a general understanding of co-design with people with disability, not to provide specific advice on disability.
By using this Co-design training toolkit you understand that there is no relationship between you and PWdWA. This training toolkit does not bind PWdWA and does not create any rights or benefits that are enforceable by any party.

PWdWA does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information is strictly at your own risk, PWdWA will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the use of our model.

This Co-design information is not for sale, to be sold, reproduced and/or modified, unless prior permission is received in writing from PWdWA.