Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Co-production: what's in a word?

By Sue Bott, Deputy Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK 
Sue’s blog explores the word co-production and directly addresses the sport sector to start thinking about changing approaches to working with disabled people to improve access to physical activity and sport opportunities. This is part of the work that Disability Rights UK are doing on the Get Yourself Active and Get Out Get Active projects. 

I love this word ‘co-production’ and I hope, by the time you have read my blog, so will you.  You see it does what it says on the proverbial tin – we produce stuff together.  All over the world stuff is being produced every day whether it be houses, cars, smart phones, knowledge, ideas, theories . . . I could go on.  

Some stuff is produced by people working away on their own in a darkened room.  Other stuff is produced by lots of people and they all have an important part to play.  Take the smart phone.  Some people had to design it, some people had to sell it, and some people had to make it.  Unfortunately, the makers of stuff tend to be the ones who get forgotten about but without them we would be lost.

OK so we all accept that generally lots of people are involved in producing tangible things but what about ideas?  Isn’t that a little bit tricky?  You could go off on your own and have an idea but it is not going to get very far unless you talk to others.

I’ve got an idea – let’s get more disabled people doing sport and exercise.  Great idea!  I’m going to come and talk to you about it.  But remember it’s my idea so I just want you implement it like I say.  You can consider yourself consulted about my idea and, because I have good ideas and want to be helpful, I’m going to involve you in putting my idea into practice.

How did you get on?  What do you mean it didn’t work?  It was a great idea!  Are people saying that they have other ideas that might work that are based on their own experience so more likely to work?  You mean because I want to engage with disabled people then I should listen to their ideas?
Alright let’s have their ideas but I don’t want to lose mine.  

You could produce ideas together.  Are you saying I could keep my idea and put it together with the ideas of others to make a truly great idea that would work?  Brilliant I’m up for that!

Do you know co-producing does work.  Do things together they are more likely to work.  It’s not a chore or an irritating must do. Working and producing together we can bring about change.  So come on you sport and exercise providers.  You want to get more disabled people to come along don’t just print a few nice glossy leaflets saying how welcoming you are get out there and engage and co-produce with disabled people. 

You can follow Sue’s guide dog Faith @guidedogfaith 

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