The power of co-creation in solving important problems

by Matt Handley

Email +44 (0)7802 661339

In our recent Global Culture Survey, 63% of C-suite and board respondents said there was a strong culture within their organisation, compared to just 41% of employees. The disconnect between the perceptions of organisations’ leadership and the reality ‘on the ground’, suggests the need to involve a broad range of stakeholders in making major decisions.

Business transformation is tough and involves rational, emotional and political complexity. Designing meaningful solutions requires bringing together a diverse set of perspectives to achieve bigger, bolder ideas.

Our clients have told us that co-creation and collaboration helps them to achieve the right outcomes for them and their business. Below is a closer look at these outcomes.


Our clients’ problems are multidisciplinary and driven by many factors. Pulling on a cross-section of people across the business with diverse perspectives can unpick the true nature of the challenge, and give participants the right intelligence to resolve it.


By bringing everyone together in a distraction-free environment, groups get far more work done than they can through conventional methods. For example, by working together in small groups, each taking on a different part of the problem or looking at it from a different angle, we ‘parallel process’. This means we get to better answers, faster. On a session I led to redesign the onboarding curriculum for a global social media organisation, our lead sponsor told us we “had achieved in two days what should have taken three months”.


The sense of accomplishment from working in this way is profound. When people can see their fingerprints over solutions they are far more likely to put it into practice. Sessions that provide a shared experience and language inspire action long after the participants leave the room.


Our approach, which convenes insights from design, psychology, technology, philosophy, the arts and beyond, is a very different way of working to what our clients are used to. A recent session I facilitated began with participants completing a task to rescue cuddly toy kittens from a mocked up burning building (while blindfolded!) The intent was to explore the challenge of developing better operational processes. This exercise prompted a phenomenally rich debrief, with insights that never would have emerged had we approached them head on. Engaging people through play and creativity helped them think about their problem differently, and come up with bigger, bolder ideas. Their ideas can then be brought to life through live prototyping.

By designing and making decisions in a more collaborative way, organisations can address the true complexity of their challenges and genuinely empower their people.


by Matt Handley

Email +44 (0)7802 661339

The Difference is a group of designers and facilitators within the Experience Centre at PwC, who are passionate about helping clients solve their most complex problems, at pace, through the design and delivery of collaborative working sessions.

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