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Co-Creation, Design Thinking and Youth Engagement

If you know mindyourmind you know that we are more than just a website. You know that we work closely with youth to create positive change for individuals struggling with mental health issues AND we insert ourselves in communities mobilizing around these issues to impact system change.   We do this work in a number of ways but many argue that our unique offering is the co-creation work we do with youth. Plainly speaking we co-design tools, resources and processes with youth and emerging adults to ensure that what we do is relevant, meaningful, useful. Because if it's not any of those things, then what's the point? 

We have developed dozens of support tools, system transformation tools and rich media content pieces designed to help young people better manage their mental health.  We also work with youth in communities to support systems change. 

We privilege an approach called co-creation. At mindyourmind these are intensive design periods of development we refer to as Design Studios.  Co-creation involves inviting the very same audiences that will ultimately use our tools directly into the development process; young people work directly with facilitators, developers, content experts and designers to brainstorm, plan, design, develop and troubleshoot the very tools they will use.

In effect, co-creation collapses the research, design, development and communications planning phases of production into a single, fluid, continuous, agile and ultimately human process. It is more outcome-focused than older approaches and yields strong results. 

It turns out that it is also a good tool for knowledge transfer and systems transformation work. More to come at a later date. 

And for an example of one of our most recent Design Studio experiences with our partners at CAMH, check this out!

Please share and send us questions or comments if you have any! We believe in this approach and wonder if you have also thought about co-creation with youth. 

If you are a young person reading this let us know how this might be a different way to think about youth engagement. Important to hear your thoughts.