Collaborative Change in Canada

After presenting Collaborative Change at the last World Social Marketing Conference (Dublin), we were invited by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to run a collaboration with their internal and agency teams to engage young people with their sexual health.

The project model we developed was classic ‘Collaborative Change’—working directly with the Ministry research/strategy team and their Toronto-based creative agency, Rain43 to co-create interventions directly with the young people in the city.

Given that co-creation was new to both the client and agency team, we focused carefully on the capacity-building strand, working with the agency’s Creative Directors and Accounts team to design workshops and co-facilitate delivery of them.

With only a week in Toronto to run our element of the project, the whole experience had a vibrant urgency to it, feeling more like an innovation boot camp or design challenge than a standard behaviour change project. The co-design engagement work was carried out at the University of Toronto with groups of young people recruited against a segmentation model that had been developed through an extensive phase of quant research.

The collaboration went exceptionally well: the young people engaged fully with the issue, came up with some great directions and fed back clearly that they enjoyed the process and appreciated the respect with which their input was invited. A number of them left the session vocally enthused about the issue and with specific intentions to spread the word amongst their social networks—a classic case of the Collaborative Change approach serving as insight generation, prototype development and an intervention in itself.

Working with around 40 students in various groups across 2 days, we collaboratively unearthed a suite of clear, actionable insight and intervention prototypes. The agency and client team were similarly enthused and all benefited from participation in the process as well as receipt of the product.

Understandably, the two agency Creative Directors were a little skeptical when we first breezed into their agency to collaborate under orders from their client! So it was particularly pleasing to see the enthusiasm with which they set about the ideation phase following what they considered to be a refreshing and enlightening blend of research and creative development.

I only had a couple of days on the ground to run topline collaborative analysis and ideation sessions with the agency team before presenting progress back to the Ministry at the end of the week. We left Canada exhausted, but exhilarated and eager to see how the Rain43 team interprets the insights and prototypes that came out of our very intensive week-long collaboration—watch this space!

> Update: Read more about the project


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