What is Co-Development in a Workplace Environment?
As the name suggests, co-development in the workplace is a training method that is based on employee development through collaboration and collective practice. You might say it is closely related to peer or group coaching. First developed by Adrien Payette and Claude Champagne in the 1990s, co-development workshops are established on the idea that practice builds knowledge. The method is grounded in leveraging collective experience and sharing knowledge to improve professional practice.
How do co-development workshops work?
Co-development workshops generally follow certain stages, which we will expand on; but these can differ between workshops based on the group and the desired outcome. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ process; be flexible with co-development and make it unique to your team or company to get the best outcomes.
Stages of co-development workshops
Stage 1: The first stage of any co-development workshop is to define roles. Each group member of the workshop will bring an issue or challenge that relates to the workplace that they need to tackle. Within the group that participates, one issue will be selected by a vote or similar. Whoever has their issue selected becomes the focus person – they act as the client. The other group members act as consultants to feedback on the clients’ challenges, issues, or goals that want to be achieved.
Stage 2: Once the issue has been chosen and subsequently defined by the client, other group members will have time for clarification. Within this stage, the consultants discuss the challenge presented to better understand and explore exactly what it is and how they might approach it.
Stage 3: This stage consists of insights and feedback. Each group member, or consultant, gives their own feedback to the client or focus person on the challenge at hand. Here is the time the group will give alternative suggestions, viewpoints, and actions that the client can take on board and act upon. The focus person also has the opportunity to share thoughts and discuss each suggestion.
Stage 4: Following the discussion stage, the planning begins. The focus person formulates an action plan based off of the feedback and viewpoints they’ve received. As this is collaborative, the group can continue to help and discuss the strategy.
Stage 5: This stage consists of a summary of the session; perhaps this stage touches on what worked well, what plan was devised, and what the next steps are. It should collate what the sessions entailed and how development was made through group collaboration, or co-development.
Benefits of co-development
Co-development, like many workplace development strategies, has several benefits. Some of these include:
1. It encourages active listening.
Active listening goes beyond just hearing what someone is saying. It’s being an active participant and seeking to understand; it might include asking questions. The co-development method enables this, helping co-workers collaborate to strategize solutions together. Active listening can build trust between workplace groups, as well as help to develop knowledge and expertise from others around you.
2. Sharing of knowledge and expertise
Because co-development is based on communicating with others, it is a beneficial method in the sharing of knowledge and expertise to help find solutions to challenges brought to the workshops. This means that the co-development method not only improves professional practices, but also helps to grow your employees’ skills and knowledge too through collaboration.
3. It increases communication skills at work.
Communication is a key characteristic of co-development workshops. In fact, it’s the basis of the method and therefore by initiating these workshops in the workplace, you’ll likely see the communication skills of employees and teams improve. Communication in the workplace is vital to efficiency, productivity, and a positive environment; so, investing in communication development is key.
Co-development is an effective way of collaboratively working to achieve solutions. But it’s just one way in which employee development and organizational development can be achieved. Looking to develop your workforce? Learn more about Focus by EZRA and how it can help to develop your employees.