Co-production: Being confident, comfortable, and brave enough to tell your story

Co-production: Being confident, comfortable, and brave enough to tell your story

Co-production week

From 3 to 10 July we celebrate Co-production Week. We asked Phil Gibson, our Co-production Lead, to tell us more about co-production.

I am often intrigued by the question ‘How are you today’? Sometimes, I ask it as an easy conversation starter, expecting the response to be an affirmation that we are all doing sort of ‘OK’ thereby finding some common ground to enable us to quickly move on.

When I visit my family in New Zealand, I have to re-train myself. It seems to me that in New Zealand there often seems to me a real interest in ‘how you are’ and what you are doing. So, I come prepared to both ask and answer in a genuine way. It is not unknown for simple transaction in a shop with a stranger to take 10 minutes!

When you give or receive an answer that offers more than the obligatory ‘I am good thanks but what about this weather’ it may take us out of our comfort zone, and we can be challenged by this but on other occasions we may find ourselves walking through a door of opportunity that opens an infinite range of possible directions and collaborations.

This to me is the beginning of co-production. It’s the awareness to ask the questions and being open to creating an environment where we encourage people to be confident, comfortable, and brave enough to tell their stories, share their ideas and most importantly how they plan to achieve them.

I work for Camphill Village Trust, a charity committed to the culture of co-production, underpinned by a belief that everyone should have a life full of opportunities and that every person should be fully involved in co-creating what this means for them.

This must start with asking the right questions, listening to the responses and harnessing everyone’s collective skills and talents and being brave as we go forward together.

Recently I had the honour of co-delivering an embedding co-production workshop with Owen. Owen decided that the best way to tell his story was to read us his self-penned poem ‘I am as good as’.

It was a powerful way to remind all present that there are times when we do not feel valued for the many skills and talents each of us has. Yet whilst we are all unique, we are all as good as each other. I left that workshop making a pledge to always take the time to ask the right questions and then really take an interest in the powerful stories people share.

I think that this is a pretty good starting place to be part of co-producing lives full of opportunity for us all.


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