The Auckland Co-design Lab (the Lab) is a public sector innovation team based in South Auckland. It is a unique collaboration between central and local government.

Set up in January 2015 the Lab was established to develop fresh ideas in response to complex social issues. Our aim is to use co-design principles and practice to work with, better understand and empower the people closest to the issues.  

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

The Lab is funded by Auckland Council and eight central government agencies; Treasury, NZ Police, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development and Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet.

The Lab is based with Auckland Council’s Southern Initiative team in Manukau, South Auckland.


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