We worked with people with expertise and experience in the prioritised climate adaptation challenges to design behaviour change approaches that are likely to work.
Co-design is the act of creating with stakeholders (business or customers) specifically within the design development process to ensure the results meet their needs and are usable.
Climate adaptation is needed now to address the challenges from warming and climate variability already "locked in". But most adaptation researchers and practitioners agree that there is a gap between the urgency and scale of the challenge, and the observed changes in behaviour of key stakeholders and populations that build adaptive capacity needed to meet it.
Co-design is needed when designing effective approaches to build adaptive capacity for climate adaptation, because it gives voice and influence to the communities and communities that are best placed to implement those approaches. By embedding local knowledge, cultural nuances, and community aspirations in the design process, the resulting behaviour change approaches become more contextually relevant and practical.
Our ultimate ambition for co-design in this process is for knowledge co-production: where trying to understand and influence each others' perspectives supports knowledge exchange between stakeholders, researchers, and practitioners. This learning process can spark innovative ideas and foster holistic, integrative solutions, enhancing our collective capacity to address the multi-faceted challenges of climate change.
The co-design process involved more than 20 participants over 12 weeks, and included five online workshops, and weekly team meetings.
Participants were recruited from Commonwealth, State, and local governments, land governance organisations such as Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups, representatives of organisations and NGOs with interests in climate change adaptation, businesses, affected communities, and Traditional Owners.
In the first session, as a whole group we considered the prioritised climate adaptation challenges and formed teams of participants who would work together on an integrated challenge for the whole co-design process. The teams began to map the system that surrounded the challenge, and identified shared values and an initial vision for how to collaborate during the co-design process.
In the second session, teams refined their challenge statement and reached consensus on which group relevant to the challenge should be the target of a behaviour change intervention. Once agreed, teams generated possible behaviours that, if enacted by the target audience, would help to address the challenge. The behaviours were prioritised and a target behaviour was selected.
In the third session, teams used evidence from supporting research and their practice expertise to 'diagnose' the target behaviour(s). An expanded model of behaviour change, COM-B, was used to guide the discussion. Drivers and barriers related to the target audiences' Capability, Opportunity, and Motivation to enact the behaviour were identified.
In the fourth session, teams generated ideas and then assessed diverse behaviour change approaches that could address drivers and barriers to the target behaviour. The assessment also included a discussion of the implementation context, with the logic that an effective behaviour change approach needs to be adapted to a specific context. This discussion of context also helped to identify how, where, and when a behaviour change trial might be conducted. The teams constructed a theory of change for how the intervention would influence drivers and barriers, and therefore the target behaviour, and finally address the climate adaptation challenge.
In the fifth and final session, teams created a detailed plan for implementing and evaluating the behaviour change intervention in a trial, including what and how to measure process and impact, a timeline for conducting the trial and evaluation activities, and the research design. Team members also made commitments to the next phase of the Mission, with some participants choosing to assist in implementing the trial.
Parallel to these sessions, research was conducted to address any uncertainties or gaps in knowledge related to behaviour change in each challenge area. Online collaborative platforms like Miro and Google Docs were used to ensure accessibility and enable seamless communication among participants.
Through the co-design process, two teams were formed:
As part of the supporting research, we created a briefing paper for each team:
Climate adaptation requires significant commitments from many different stakeholders. A participatory or co-design approach is not a 'nice to have' - it is a necessity to increase the chances of effective implementation of any policies, programs, or approaches to increase adaptive capacity in the face of climate change.
If you are confronting climate adaptation challenges demanding immediate action, then consider collaborating on a co-design approach with us. Through the co-design process, we create interventions tailored to the unique context and needs of the people affected by your challenge, integrating local knowledge and influence to increase the odds of a successful outcome.
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