We need courage to listen.
We need courage to state the obvious,
to sit with discomfort.
We need courage to be open-hearted,
to be vulnerable,
to be curious.
We need courage to ask good questions.
We need courage to ask hard questions.
We need courage to stay in the question.
We need courage to ask for help,
to take risks,
We need courage to collaborate,
to withhold judgment,
to be ourselves.
We need courage to feel creative,
to support other voices.
to accept truths outside our own.
We need courage to step back.
We need courage to dive in.
We all need courage.
For any organization to be competitive in its market, it must strive to remove its blinders and challenge its assumptions. It needs to bring diverse perspectives to bear on its process design, business planning, and strategic vision. To do this effectively and authentically, it needs to deeply explore interpersonal and systemic power dynamics and scrutinize its processes through an equity lens. It’s not easy. It needs courage.
Courage Co-Lab brings a rigorous approach to shared creativity that gets teams to find mutual goals, ask better questions, and actually arrive at solutions.
Our approach pays attention to who is speaking and who is listening, how trust is built within a design process, and how, at the heart of it, courage is something deeply human, which participants bring to the work. What we do best is to support people of diﬀerent position, power, or privilege, to be brave in their shared creativity.
In order to design and deliver solutions which are deeply responsive to the lives of real people, our approach focuses on human experiences and emotions which shape our relationships with services, campaigns, programs, organizations, or places. We aspire to work with humility and an openness to continuous feedback and learning.
We believe in projects that are based on co-design, in which every solution is produced collaboratively with our clients and the communities they serve. What that means to us is that we ask people to work together, over time, to develop and test prototypes to improve the issues they jointly identify. In this process, participants practice “holding space” for others who may share diﬀerent, and sometimes diﬀicult, impressions of a common subject.
The Co-Lab model allows us to:
• Create a more inclusive vision, because we hear from people who may not normally have a role in the process.
• Develop the ideas of many, producing natural, invested champions who are ready to support the work long after a project has wrapped up.
• Enable people to find and hone their “gifts” — the skills, instincts, abilities, and resources that will make sure we have adequate capacity to carry out that support.
The right approach to co-design is one that uses storytelling, empathy-building, and generous listening to create the conditions for innovation and improvement.