Earlier this month, the People’s Voice Media team were in Utrecht for the annual CoSIE partner meeting and a seminar all about co-creation. Read on to find out more about what they go up to…

The meeting kicked-off with jam-packed seminar that combined academic research, real-world case studies and practical sessions revolving around ways of involving people in the creating and running of public services. Our team worked with some of the CoSIE partners to deliver a workshop that asked people to question the value of ‘co-creation’ to different scenarios and whether or not we should always co-create. The session provoked attendees to think about their own personal value-system when it came to co-creation.

Specifically, an activity in which attendees had to place different engagement techniques on a spectrum between ‘consultation’ and ‘co-creation’ got the room buzzing. For some, focus groups were more a consultation tool but for others, who had rejigged their format, focus groups provided a key mechanism for them to co-create through… all interesting stuff. The activity moved people away from thinking there was a ‘five star’ version of co-creation ready packaged and instead think about the context of the co-creation more deeply. What the learning from the CoSIE project suggests is that co-creation DOES add real value (on different levels) to the design, creation and running of public services BUT finding the places to apply it and thinking about how you are applying it are key. Most of all, it is important to avoid co-creation tokenism! Click here for a great tongue-in-cheek blog of the things to avoid when co-producing from our partner in crime – Cat Duncan-Rees.

Spurred on by the seminar’s discussions, the CoSIE partners got their heads down into working on their own project. The first day of the meeting saw the delivery of internal trainings for the forthcoming summative knowledge exchanges. These events will support the co-evaluation of the pilots and extract the key learnings from the project. Our team was on hand to train partners in dialogue interviewing techniques to support the capturing of reflections from stakeholders. We also equipped the national teams with the skills to incorporate story dialogue techniques into these exchanges. Other training revolved around data curation and visualisation, and a first look at the new Living Labs tool!

From this, we turned our attentions to some of the key outputs of the project – the roadmap and the MOOC. Combining the ideas and learnings of a large consortium into these products isn’t an easy task, but the work packages leaders had it all in hand. The roadmap is taking the format of a metro line, with different stops along the way that people can get on and off at. This tries to address one of the problems people have been outlining about co-creation processes – they are not necessarily linear. Therefore, the multi-directionality of a metro map may just provide the answer – we are looking forward to seeing what is produced and we will update you on it later in the year!

What we took away from this year’s meeting was that at its core co-creation is a power – or to be more specific, the redistribution of power and the interplay of power dynamics. This got us thinking about all kinds of things such as what language you use, questioning of your own perspective, hidden hierarchies and things like that. This food for thought is what we will take away with us and begin to unpick within our own practice and work.


Community Reporter, Social Licensee or a Partner? Join us for an online catch-up with other members of our UK and European network.

We run 2 online catch-ups per year and they are a great way for members to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the Institute of Community Reporters (the ICR), learn new stuff and share expertise, find out about opportunities to get involved with, meet other members, network and much more.

It’s only an hour, so grab a brew and a biscuit, log on and find out what exciting stuff is happening across our network! Register here, and we’ll confirm the platform nearer the time once we have numbers. Full agenda below…

Tuesday 10th March 2020 / 2pm – 3pm UK time / Google Hangouts – Link provided on registration

2:00pm / Welcome and the ICR Update – Hayley Trowbridge (People’s Voice Media)

Find out the lastest news from the ICR and hear all about our plans for revamping the Community Reporter website!

2:15pm / Co-creation public services with Community Reporting – Jessica Dijkman (Houten Municipality) 

Hear how Jessica and her team have been using Community Reporting methodologies to co-create solutions to unemployment a municipality in the Netherlands as part of the CoSIE project. 

2:30pm / The 2nd ICR Annual Conference – Sarah Henderson (People’s Voice Media)

We’ll be giving you all the details about our second conference in June 2020 and how you can be a part of it!

2:45pm / News, Opportunities and Questions from the ICR network 

Your chance to share what Community Reporting activities you’ve been up to, hear about any opportunities in the network and ask questions to the network or for help from other members.

3:00pm / End of Catch-Up and back to work! 😉 BOOK NOW!

*Save the date for the next ICR Online Catch-Up – Tuesday 8th September 2019, 2pm – 3pm (UK time)*


  • Looking for alternative methods to tackle ‘wicked’ or multifaceted problems?
  • Looking for tools to support decision-making and commissioning in complex environments? 
  • Looking to turn insights into tangible outcomes?

Then this workshop is for you…

People’s lived experiences are becoming increasingly important in decision-making processes. They are instrumental to creating new ideas, ways of doing things and ultimately bringing about social change. Within this context, concepts such as â€˜co-initiation’‘co-design’, ‘co-production’ and ‘co-evaluation’are becoming more mainstream within a range of public and third sector support services, and are firmly on the agenda of local and national Governments and commissioners. It is therefore important that those working in these fields understand the value of lived experience as a knowledge base and how it can be practically used to inform practiceinfluence policy and initiate change in meaningful ways.

People’s Voice Media and Ideas Alliance have teamed-up to deliver 1-Day Continued Professional Development workshops that will help you develop your knowledge, skills and expertise in how to addresses the challenges of working with the knowledge of lived experience, tying it in to co-creative processes and bottom-up change structures. Through a mixture of practical tasks, case studies and presentations, discussions and one-to-one facilitator time, you will get to grips with such concepts and approaches can be better utilised in your role and organisation. In the workshop, techniques such as appreciative inquiry and storytelling will be used to rethink the relationship between citizens and professionals in order to better align your purpose to your community’s purposes. 

As part of this workshop you will:

  • Explore how lived experience can be used at to create impact at individual, organisational and systemic levels
  • Assess the challenges and opportunities to working with the knowledge of lived experience and examine how barriers to implementation can be overcome 
  • Create a bespoke plan for working with the knowledge of lived experience in your role and organisation, and develop your ideas using peer support and critical-thinking approaches 

This workshop is perfect for team, middle and strategic management professionals working in sectors such as health and social care, education, community development and infrastructure support and public services who want to understand how to better use lived experience as a tool for quality, service or organisation development. 


Birmingham: Wednesday 4thMarch 2020 / 10am – 4pm (Lunch and refreshments provided) @ BVSC, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR. BOOK HERE.

Liverpool: Thursday 12thMarch 2020 / 10 am – 4pm (Lunch and refreshments provided) @ The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James St, Liverpool L1 0AB. BOOK HERE.

Places are limited, so BOOK NOW!


Earlier this month, some of our team headed to slightly warmer climates in Spain to work with Co-Crea-Te – the Spanish pilot in the CoSIE project. Co-Crea-Te is a business development and entrepreneur support service embedded in a purposefully established co-working space in Valencia.

The purpose of our visit was to work with the team behind the pilot to co-curate a set of reflective stories they’ve been capturing about people’s experiences of using the service since its inception earlier this year. Working with the stories we unearthed people’s motivations for become entrepreneurs – such as out of necessity and to do social good, as well as some of the wider contextual challenges to setting up your own business. Furthermore, the stories highlighted the value of the Co-Crea-Te space to the people who access it. At the forefront of this was the ability to co-create and collaborate with other people. People felt this led to better ideas being produced and also helped them feel a sense of belonging.

With these findings we then moved on to exploring how our Conversation of Change facilitation techniques can be used as part of a Summative Knowledge Exchange with stakeholders that is planned to be delivered next year. With the team, we honed in on the purpose of the event – they want to share the learning from their pilots in order to influence other employment related services to adopt co-creation methods within their work. With the pilot team we discuss the practicalities and ideas for this event, which we will be supporting them to develop in the new year. So watch this space for how the conversation unfolds!


Late last month part of our team was in Brussels for the final meeting of the EuroCohort Development Project (ECDP). ECDP is a Design Study which will create the specification and business case for a European Research Infrastructure that will provide, over the next 25 years, comparative longitudinal survey data on child and young adult well-being. The infrastructure developed by ECDP will subsequently coordinate the first Europe wide cohort survey, named EuroCohort.

Integrated into this project, was a stream of work focusing on engaging children and young people in research projects. This part of the project ensures that the voice of children, young people and the parents/guardians of very young children are captured in ECDP so that there is a co-production in the development of the scientific tools and processes. It focused on working with groups of children and young people in the UK and Croatia.

Activities related to this included the establishment of Young People’s Advisory Groups (CYPAG) and the training of young people as Community Reporters and in different storytelling techniques. The Community Reporter’s captured youth voice on the topic of wellbeing. The CYPAG’s also embedded storytelling in their activities to support young people to contribute to the research project’s design. You see all of their stories here. The stories and Community Reporting processes adopted in ECDP were used to create a written analysis on what wellbeing means to young people and also produce a toolkit on how to engage young people in research project. More so, a short document on some of the key learnings from the CYPAG group in Croatia can be downloaded here.

The final day of the meeting was dedicated to a conference – EuroCohort: Growing Up in Europe. This conference brought together key stakeholders, national, European and international level policy-makers, funding bodies and academics as part of a launch event for the EuroCohort: Growing Up in Europe study. It shared learnings from the development project and showed how insights from Growing Up in Europe will support better policy-making and impact on the lives of children and young people.

And guess what? The Community Reporter stories took centre stage, with the voices of young people from Croatia and Zagreb bringing to life the many themes of the study – from happiness to digital life. Another Community Reporting success!