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Advance care planning: Co-designing an awareness campaign (NZ)

Case Study

posted by Hilary Boyd on 31 March 2014


April 16, 2014 will be New Zealand’s first advance care planning Conversations that Counts Day. The purpose of the day is to encourage people to start conversations about the things that matter to them and the care that they might want towards the end of their life. The 2014 campaign is targeted at active older people.

Workshop rationale

Prior to developing the advertising campaign, the team at Auckland District Health Board wanted to understand what concepts would and wouldn’t work with the target group. For example, should the campaign involve humour, focus on family relationships and so on. They decided to hold a co-design workshop with active older people. The challenge was the timeframe. In order to meet design and printing deadlines, a workshop needed to be held within two weeks.

What they did

The team approached The Poynton, a retirement village on the North Shore, to see if they would be willing to host a workshop, which they were. The village promoted the workshop amongst their residents and the project team also recruited other people to come along.

The workshop format

The team used Penny Hagen’s co-design workshop planning framework to help them plan the workshop.


As preparation for the workshop they asked people to:

  • Think about advertising campaigns they remembered and identify what they liked or disliked.
  • Look through any magazines, newspapers or books and pick out any examples of pictures, styles colours or phrases that appealed.


They asked participants to discuss in pairs what was on their bucket list and then to share these with the wider group.


They then showed participants a mash-up of campaign videos and asked them to identify what they liked and disliked about each campaign.


They asked groups to select a pre-prepared persona and develop a prototype campaign postcard including the slogan, images and format. Groups were then asked to pitch their postcard ideas.

Reflecting back

The key themes were summarised by the facilitators with an opportunity for people to add input.

Lessons learnt

  • When planning the workshop it is important to think carefully about the audience. In particular, their familiarity with hands-on design activity, their preferred pace of working and knowledge about the topic.
  • Going to the people, instead of inviting people to come to you is a good way to get engagement.
  • Retirement villages are a great opportunity to work in the community with people on co-design. In our case, the organisation helped with organisation of the venue and recruitment of participants.

More information

For more information about this work, please contact .

Visit the Conversations that Count Day website