December 16, 2019

Dr. Penny Hagen (Auckland Co-Design Lab) and Angie Tangaere (The Southern Initiative)

Hosted by: OPEN – Research to Practice Hub  (CFECFW)

Date: 20 November 2019                          Location: Oaks on Market



Dr. Penny Hagen is the Co-Design Lead at the Auckland Co-Design Lab. She assists organisations and teams to apply participatory and developmental approaches to the design and implementation of strategy, programs, policies and services with a social outcomes focus.

Angie Tangaere is a social intrapreneur at The Southern Initiative. She combines her experience with government agencies, community and whānau to develop and co-design whānau-led programmes, disrupting ineffective ‘business as usual’ systems. Angie co-leads the Tamariki (Child) Wellbeing initiatives at TSI.

The Southern Initiative (TSI) is a place-based initiative that champions, stimulates and enables social and community innovation in South Auckland and is funded by Auckland Council. TSI encourages thinking differently and using innovative practice, including co-design, to improve wellbeing outcomes. It empowers families and communities to come up with their own solutions to complex local problems.

Presentation Overview

Penny and Angie shared great insights with our audience about the challenges and successes of using different types of evidence for innovative practice in these complex community spaces. They used their  experience working with The Southern Initiative to improve the well being of families and children in the diverse local communities of South Auckland as a lens to discuss their learnings. Their reflections on their approach are provided below.

The Landscape

Before we think about how we use evidence, we should consider we sit in the landscape of policy and practice led approaches. Are we using a policy-led approach? Or a delivery-led approach? As practitioners and program developers we should be reaching across the landscape to create better solutions drawing from both policy and practice.

What constitutes evidence? What is favoured? What is needed?

Once we have considered our position in the landscape, we should also question our relationship to evidence in our work. There are many types of evidence. We need to be constantly mindful of what types of evidence we routinely use in our work and what evidence is not considered as legitimate or as sufficient.  For instance, do we allow Indigenous knowledge to be used as evidence? Or is this overlooked in favour of Western perspectives? To innovate and improve outcomes we need to work with a wider range of evidence.

Quantitative Research – Practice-based Evidence – Indigenous Knowledge – Expertise and Experience – Western Science – Feedback

Tracking the right outcomes

Using evidence innovatively also involves tracking meaningful outcomes. But often there is a difference between what is meaningful to governments and service organisations, and what is meaningful to families and communities.

Data we collect needs to be useful, culturally grounded and contextual. It should look beyond what we favour as outcomes, and pay attention to what the community wants to achieve.

We should be asking families: “What does success look like for you?”

We need to have localised indicators and measures, based on local ideas of success

We all have the platform from which to start this conversation – we can leverage our professional relationships, our human capital and our expertise.This is not about formal funding structures, services or programs, it is about attitudes, understandings and relationships.

We need to be providing the conditions under which families can thrive, rather than looking for a “silver bullet” solution.

Modelling better practice

We need to work on modelling the kind of relationships we want to see being built with the community. We need to and think about ways we can share our space, share our capital and cede our power. :

As a thought exercise, think of one way you might change the way you work with communities – big or small!

Resources for review

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