Co-production, as defined by Filipe et al. (2017), is “an exploratory space and a generative process that leads to different, and sometimes unexpected, forms of knowledge, values, and social relations.” It is more than a matter of ‘production’ being an outcome of participant involvement, rather, the generative process requires participant agency and intention in what is invariably a dynamic situation. It is also much more than a matter of collaborative learning and, while social media may create a suitable context for imagining new forms of learner interaction, co-production is not dependent upon technological connectivity. This is all made clear by examining the principles that define co-production.
- Recognising people as assets: equal partners in the design and delivery of services;
- Building on people’s existing capabilities: co-produced services start with people’s capabilities (not needs) and look for opportunities to develop them;
- Mutuality and reciprocity: co-production is about a mutual and reciprocal partnership;
- Peer support networks: peer and personal networks alongside professionals;
- Blurring roles: blurring the distinction between professionals, users, family members, community representatives;
- Professionals as catalysts of change: Enabling professionals to become facilitators and catalysts of change.”
Reviewing the core principles of co-production
- Devolve real responsibility, leadership and authority to ‘users’, and encourage self-organisation rather than direction from above;
- Offer participants a range of incentives which help to embed the key elements of reciprocity and mutuality.
Revised core principles of co-production
- Recognising people as partners having equal value in the co-construction of knowledge;
- Building on and developing people’s existing capabilities by creating opportunities to develop them;
- Valuing mutual and reciprocal partnership;
- Valuing the potential of peer and personal networks alongside the input of professionals or people assigned expert status;
- Blurring the distinction between people assigned expert status, including professionals, and others whose formal or informal interest, experience, knowledge and commitment are not sufficiently valued or recognised;
- Expecting experienced and knowledgeable people to lead and facilitate change, acting as change agents in activities that lead to mutually beneficial development and learning;
- Devolving real responsibility, leadership and authority to participants, and encouraging self-organisation rather than direction from above;
- Expecting all participants to grow their capabilities and make use of them as changing situations allow;
- Offering participants a range of incentives which help to embed the key elements of reciprocity and mutuality.