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Co-design approaches

Updated Tuesday, 27 February 2024

There are many different approaches, methods and tools that can be used to enable co-design at different stages in the process.

Find out more about The Open University's Design courses and qualifications.

Click here to view a short introduction to co-design 

Here is a selection of approaches that can be used by any individual or organisation that wishes to enable co-design activities in their context.

Developing a shared design purpose

This short animation introduces a structured way to facilitate the creation of a shared purpose among participants in a co-design project.

PDF document Transcript 77.9 KB

Asset mapping

This tool offers a practical introduction to asset mapping. A process of unearthing, visualising and connecting individual and collective skills, knowledge and other resources that a co-design team has and can use as a basis for further development of a design project.

Asset mapping tool (PDF document525.5 KB)

Connecting challenges, assets and opportunities

This short animation introduces a technique for generating ideas and opportunities for design by unearthing and combining individual and collective challenges and assets.

PDF document Transcript 75.2 KB


These two resources introduce an approach, called cross-pollination. It is used to bring actors from different sectors together to share skills, resources and ideas, and to develop new ideas or plans for collaborative projects or initiatives. 

The Cross-pollination Resource Pack gives an overview of the approach, its history and principles, and provides case studies and practical tools.

The Cross-pollination Resource Pack (PDF document13.9 MB)

This film provides a step-by-step guide to delivering a cross-pollination workshop with people co-designing projects or initiatives in a particular place.

Video shared from Cross-pollination project playlist

Acknowledgements: This OpenLearn page was produced through collaboration between The Open University and The Glass-House Community Led Design.




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