Co-Designing interventions

Working with others for better outcomes

About this page

Interventions that are designed by engaging with all the relevant stakeholders should be more amenable to those stakeholders and in time more effective in their outcomes. Practice-based health promotion and community work has been aware of this for many decades and more recently, research-driven intervention designers have also taken more interest in the methods of, and integration of, stakeholder engagement work.

This page includes a range of resources to help reflect on best practice in the Co-Design of Interventions. Some content is focussed on community interventions and some on the process of doing research.

Key Recommended Reading

A Rationale for Stakeholder Work

UK Guidance on Health Actions that involve Engagement

Working with what's already there

Brooks, F., & Kendall, S. (2013). Making sense of assets: What can an assets-based approach offer public health?. Critical Public Health, 23(2), 127-130. 

Working with stakeholders: The "target" population 

Scriven, A. (2017). Promoting Health: A Practical Guide-E-Book: Ewles & Simnett. Elsevier Health Sciences. [Ch13: working with groups]

O’Reilly, M., Wiltshire, G., Kiyimba, N., & Harrington, D. (2023). “Is Everybody Comfortable?”# xd; Thinking Through Co-design Approaches to Better Support Girls’ Physical Activity in Schools. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 15(2), 248-263. 

Different way's of engaging

Contains an adapted Ladder of Community Participation for Public Health

Morgan, M. A., & Lifshay, J. (2006). Community engagement in public health. California Endowment under the sponsorship of Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), 1-8.

Boulton, E. R., Horne, M., & Todd, C. (2020). Involving Older Adults in Developing Physical Activity Interventions to Promote Engagement: A Literature Review. Journal of Population Ageing, 13(3), 325–345. 

Community Capacity Building & Empowerment

Raeburn, J., Akerman, M., Chuengsatiansup, K., Mejia, F., & Oladepo, O. (2006). Community capacity building and health promotion in a globalized world. Health promotion international, 21(suppl_1), 84-90.

Heritage, Z., & Dooris, M. (2009). Community participation and empowerment in Healthy Cities. Health Promotion International, 24(suppl_1), i45-i55. 

Wallerstein, N., Minkler, M., Carter-Edwards, L., Avila, M., & Sanchez, V. (2015). Improving health through community engagement, community organization, and community building. In Glanz et al. Health behavior: Theory, research and practice. John Wiley & Sons. 

Working with Communities (papers from Green et al)

[from Ch 9,

Laverack, G., & Manoncourt, E. (2016). Key experiences of community engagement and social mobilization in the Ebola response. Global Health Promotion, 23(1), 79–82.

Sardu, C., Mereu, A., Sotgiu, A., & Contu, P. (2012). A bottom-up art event gave birth to a process of community empowerment in an Italian village. Global Health Promotion, 19, 5–13

Woodall, J., White, J., & South, J. (2012). Improving health and well-being through community health champions: a thematic evaluation of a programme in Yorkshire and Humber. Perspectives in Public Health, 133(2), 96–103

Collective Change Lab (2022) Storytelling as Meaning-Making. 

Working with (small) groups to change behaviour

Much of my current research is around the creation and facilitation of small groups for supporting positive behaviour change. What constitutes a group? What techniques and methods can be used to ensure that individuals come together and benefit from a developing a stronger sense of social identity? These articles contain much insight into this topic.

Borek, A. J., & Abraham, C. (2018). How do Small Groups Promote Behaviour Change ? An Integrative Conceptual Review of Explanatory Mechanisms, Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being, 10(1), 30–61.

Hoddinott, P., Allan, K., Avenell, A., & Britten, J. (2010). Group interventions to improve health outcomes: a framework for their design and delivery. BMC Public Health, 10(1), 800.

Tarrant, M., Haslam, C., Carter, M., Calitri, R., & Haslam, S. A. (2020). Social Identity Interventions. In M. Hagger, L. Cameron, K. Hamilton, N. Hankonen, & T. Lintunen (Eds.), The Handbook of Behavior Change (pp. 649–660). Cambridge.

Working with Stakeholders: "Others"

This content is focused on engagement with the broader set of stakeholders, beyond the intended recipients of the intervention. These might include the delivery partners, commissioners, funding partners, allied professionals, community stakeholders and more. 

Brandstetter, R. (2006) Successful Partnerships

Littlecott, H. J., Fox, K. R., Stathi, A., & Thompson, J. L. (2017). Perceptions of success of a local UK public health collaborative. Health promotion international, 32(1), 102-112.

Working with Stakeholders: Further Reading

Recommended Textbooks

Brandsen, T., Steen, T., & Verschuere, B. (2018). Co-production and co-creation: Engaging citizens in public services. Taylor & Francis.  [Open Access Textbook]

Newbury-Birch, D., & Allan, K. (Eds.). (2019). Co-creating and co-producing research evidence: A guide for practitioners and academics in health, social care and education settings. Routledge. [Routledge]

Robert, G., Locock, L., Williams, O., Cornwell, J., Donetto, S., & Goodrich, J. (2022). Co-producing and co-designing. Cambridge University Press. [Open Access Textbook] 

Green, J., Tones, K., Cross, R. and Woodall, J. (2015) Health Promotion Planning & Strategies. (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks: California: Sage Publications Ltd. 

Nabatchi, T., Sancino, A., & Sicilia, M. (2017). Varieties of participation in public services: The who, when, and what of coproduction. Public Administration Review, 77(5), 766-776. 

Creative Practices in research co-production

An excellent editorial that gives an overview of the co-production landscape and signposts to specific papers in the same issue 

Langley, J., Kayes, N., Gwilt, I., Snelgrove-Clarke, E., Smith, S., & Craig, C. (2022). Exploring the value and role of creative practices in research co-production. Evidence & Policy, 18(2), 193-205. 

Power and Empowerment

Laverack, G. (2005). Public health: power, empowerment and professional practice. Macmillan International Higher Education. 

Theories of participation

Marent, B., Forster, R., & Nowak, P. (2012). Theorizing participation in health promotion: A literature review. Social Theory & Health, 10(2), 188-207.

Community-Based Participatory Research

Brush, B. L., Mentz, G., Jensen, M., Jacobs, B., Saylor, K. M., Rowe, Z., ... & Lachance, L. (2020). Success in long-standing community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnerships: A scoping literature review. Health Education & Behavior, 47(4), 556-568. 

Israel, B. A., Parker, E. A., Rowe, Z., Salvatore, A., Minkler, M., López, J., ... & Halstead, S. (2005). Community-based participatory research: lessons learned from the Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research. Environmental health perspectives, 113(10), 1463-1471. 

Engaging with stakeholders to help refine the intervention

An interesting paper that outlines a stage of the planning process that we have spoken about when using our workbook.

Morton, K. L., Atkin, A. J., Corder, K., Suhrcke, M., Turner, D., & Van Sluijs, E. M. (2017). Engaging stakeholders and target groups in prioritising a public health intervention: the Creating Active School Environments (CASE) online Delphi study. BMJ open, 7(1), e013340.

Stories for Change

Moniz, S., Karia, A., Khalid, A. F., & Vindrola‐Padros, C. (2023). Stories for Change: The impact of Public Narrative on the co‐production process. Health Expectations, 26(2), 919-930. 

Reflections on the co-production process

Buckley, B. J., Newton, J., Knox, S., Noonan, B., Smith, M., & Watson, P. M. (2022). Multi-stakeholder perspectives on co-production: Five key recommendations following the Liverpool Co-PARS project. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 1-15. 

Engaging with stakeholders to create positive change

Kok, G., Gurabardhi, Z., Gottlieb, N. H., & Zijlstra, F. R. (2015). Influencing organizations to promote health: Applying stakeholder theory. Health Education & Behavior, 42(1_suppl), 123S-132S.

Beyond the usual suspects

A research report containing a brief review of some of the evidence around inclusion but also a series of illustrative insights from interviews with service users who talk around themes that include tokenism, stigma, confidence and language.

Beresford, P (2013) Beyond the usual suspects. Shaping Our Lives

The dark side of co-production

Williams, O., Sarre, S., Papoulias, S. C., Knowles, S., Robert, G., Beresford, P., ... & Palmer, V. J. (2020). Lost in the shadows: reflections on the dark side of co-production. Health Research Policy and Systems, 18(1), 1-10. 

Practical Resources - Learning from Stakeholders - Workbook - Video Course

Dialogue by Design A Handbook of Public & Stakeholder Engagement -

Public Health Ontario - Planning Health Promotion Programs - Resource Page -

Glandon, D., Paina, L., Alonge, O., Peters, D. H., & Bennett, S. (2017). 10 Best resources for community engagement in implementation research. Health policy and planning, 32(10), 1457-1465.

Kaner, S. (2014). Facilitator's guide to participatory decision-making. John Wiley & Sons. [Google Books]

Collaborate CIC (2023) A Guide to Collaboration: the what, why and how of collaborating. 

More Resources (2020) Participatory change: 5 resources to guide staff involvement in healthcare quality improvement in 2020 and beyond

Core Principles of Public Engagement - 

Robert, G., Locock, L., Williams, O., Cornwell, J., Donetto, S., & Goodrich, J. (2022). Co-producing and co-designing. Cambridge University Press. [Open Access Textbook] 
European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Williquet, F., Szkola, S., Catana, C., et al. (2021) The communities of practice playbook: a playbook to collectively run and develop communities of practice, Publications Office.