It is a relay not a sprint! Evolving co-design in a digital and virtual environment: Neighbourhood services for elders

Stephen Osborne*, Madeline Powell, Maria Cucciniello, Joanne Macfarlane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is an emerging body of research on the co-design of public services, including co-design with vulnerable adults. However, what has been less explored has been the impact of digital technology and virtual environments upon the co-design process in this context. This paper analyses the contingencies of virtual co-design through a case study of a project to develop supportive local communities for vulnerable elderly people. This project was initially planned to use traditional co-design methods within a face-to-face environment, in the context of the local public service ecosystem. The CoVid-19 pandemic made this impossible. Consequently, an innovative approach to co-design was developed that shifted the process from a face-to-face to a virtual environment. This exploratory paper reports and evaluates this approach and its implications for the future of the theory and practice of the co-design of public services for vulnerable adults. Theoretically the paper evolves a model of co-design in a virtual space that is embedded within a public service ecosystem framework of value creation. At a practice level, the paper provides insight into the strategic and operational management of co-creation in a virtual space. It evolves the ‘Relay’ model of asynchronous co-creation across time and considers it key contingencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-538
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal Public Policy and Governance
Issue number4
Early online date3 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • public services
  • vulnerable adults
  • co-design
  • virtual co-design
  • public service logic
  • elderly services


Dive into the research topics of 'It is a relay not a sprint! Evolving co-design in a digital and virtual environment: Neighbourhood services for elders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this