Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Teamwork can be easier said than done. Co-production is 'teamwork with kapow'

By Kath Sutherland, FRSA,  Equalities Consultant, START Ability Services. 

Why is being part of a team such a big deal?
We’re often told that teamwork is the key to success in many areas of life, be that in terms of a thriving business, playing as a football team at the top of the Premier League, or having a successful and happy marriage or partnership.    

The reason for this is that working together as a team is the only way that complimentary, but alternative viewpoints can be brought together to find solutions to the challenges that are faced.  This is especially the case when the barriers towards success are particularly difficult to overcome.  After all, no one person can know about every single aspect of a particular situation or challenging set of circumstances.

Sounds like hard work to me..
You’re right.  Effective and efficient teamwork presents significant problems and can be difficult to get used to at first. The reason for this is that it requires all team members to work together and commit to a common goal.  

This is easier said than done, as in order to do this, team members will need to either have, or acquire, skills in effective communication, mutual respect and the ability to resolve conflicts.  In this way, good teamwork cannot only increase performance, but it can also support teams to develop a stronger shared understanding of how to meet the goal.

Co-production is teamwork with an extra...  
Co-production is a highly effective form of teamwork that also requires these attributes.  So, in order to bring about innovative thinking to resolve difficulties that arise, co-production needs good communication skills, including the ability to really listen to someone else’s viewpoints. 

Additionally, traditional notions of ‘power’ held by different individuals need to be abolished, in favour of a belief that everyone has something valuable to contribute. 

Furthermore, everyone is given equal opportunity to contribute, as any barriers to access that they might face are addressed and removed.  In this way, all viewpoints can be considered in order to reach the most holistic and appropriate resolution and ‘the common goal’. 

So, is co-production worth the effort?
Co-production can be hard to master, but it results in enormous benefits.  For example, as it involves the team in all aspects of planning, designing, delivering and reviewing services, where team members are rewarded for their contributions, they gain a feeling of increased wellbeing.  

As such, morale and productivity, as well as ingenuity, is significantly increased.  This feeling of wellbeing results in higher quality services that are much more likely to be fit for purpose.  And if people actually want and value the service, you are much more likely to be successful. 

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