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  • Author or Editor: Cheryl Grindell x
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Evidence-based guidelines provide clinicians with best practice recommendations but not the means to implement them. Although co-design is increasingly promoted as a way to improve implementation there is frequently insufficient detail provided to understand its contribution. The presented case study addresses this by providing a detailed account of how a specific co-design approach contributed to an improving back pain education project in line with national guidance.


The aim was to use creative co-design to produce prototype evidence-based back pain educational resources that were sensitive to context.


  • Assemble a group of relevant stakeholders for a series of workshops.

  • Use creative activities that encourage divergent and convergent thinking to iteratively understand the problem and develop prototype solutions.

  • Thematically analyse outputs of each workshop to determine content of subsequent workshops.

  • Present a final prototype ready for implementation.

Key conclusions:

  • This approach produced an innovative system of thematically linked back pain educational resources that were contextually sensitive, evidence-based and ready for implementation.

  • Research knowledge was successfully blended with stakeholder experiential knowledge.

  • The creative methods helped diverse stakeholders develop trusting relationships and ensured everyone’s experiences and ideas were included.

  • The process of co-creation and the objects created had vital roles in surfacing and understanding stakeholder knowledge, promoting innovation and facilitating implementation.

  • The design process facilitated an evolving understanding of a complex problem alongside prototype development.

  • It is recommended that these methods be considered by other project teams.

Open access


Co-production, co-creation and co-design are increasingly used in healthcare research knowledge mobilisation. These methods have grown in popularity and the broad range of approaches are often used without any formal evaluation. The challenges to using these approaches are well reported yet there is little evidence on how to overcome them or how they work. This study evaluates ‘creative co-design’, a design-led, solutions-focused process developed specifically as a means to mobilise knowledge in healthcare.

Aims and objectives:

To investigate the impact of creative co-design on the knowledge mobilisation process. To understand how it impacts on the application of research knowledge in routine clinical practice.


Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 20 participants from 14 projects. Data were analysed using the Framework approach. A workshop involving the first 10 participants was held prior to the final interviews and analysis.


The findings indicate that creative co-design successfully facilitates knowledge mobilisation in healthcare. This is represented by three interconnected themes: creative and visual; design-led; and creating the right conditions.

Discussion and conclusions:

The themes highlight how the approach supports engagement and creates a safe space for knowledge sharing and synthesis in a non-hierarchical environment. This study contributes important insights into how creative co-design can mobilise knowledge in healthcare. Further evaluation is warranted to help it develop into a recognised and effective method for research implementation and service improvement.

Open access