The Auckland Co-design Lab (the Lab) is a 24 month proof of concept running from January 2015 to January 2017. The Lab has been established to provide a neutral space to explore the use of co-design and other innovative approaches to  address complex social issues.

The Lab is funded by the Better Public Service Innovation Seed Fund and Auckland Council and is sponsored by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. The Lab is based with Auckland Council’s Southern Initiative team in Manukau, South Auckland.

A key focus is creating space for multi-agency teams to collaborate, work alongside citizens and to support and broker innovative ideas and solutions.

The Lab's governance group chaired by David Smol, CE of MBIE and Stephen Town, CE of Auckland Council and is made up of senior government and NGO leaders who provide guidance, unlock resources and topple obstacles.


There are lots of different definitions and terms people use to describe co-design practice.  Below is a definition that we like, but you might also hear the approach described as human-centred design, design thinking, participatory design.

Co-design harnesses the knowledge and creativity of citizens and staff in identifying problems and generating and implementing solutions – it offers the opportunity to uncover the real barriers to, and accelerants of, progress.
— The Future State Project: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century, Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Policy Quarterly, Volume 6, Issue 3 – August 2010