Penny Hagen

Design Strategist at Smallfire, and Design and Research Lead at Lifehack / Auckland, New Zealand

The evolution of co-design in Aotearoa





Across Aotearoa (New Zealand), co-design is rapidly being adopted in public and community contexts to tackle complex national issues and policies. Some of these areas include:

  • youth employment
  • smoking cessation
  • community health and wellbeing
  • homelessness
  • and family violence.

Many of these are large-scale, complex social change innovations and experiments that bring together new groups of people, which means working together in new ways. The opportunity to scale co-design to help address systemic national social challenges is both awesome and terrifying. In my talk, I’ll highlight some of the key trends, changes, opportunities and challenges emerging in co-design for social innovation and social outcomes in Aotearoa.

Penny assists organizations in applying co-design and design-led approaches to the design of strategy, programs, policies and services. Over the last 15 years, Penny has designed and led a range of participatory projects in Australia and New Zealand across community, commercial and academic sectors. Penny specializes in projects with social outcomes, and provides training and mentoring to design teams and organizations wanting to increase their social impact through the adoption of more participatory approaches.

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