Energy and Meteorology Portal

Co-design, Co-development, Co-evaluation (CO-CO-CO approach)

Co-production, which typically includes co-design, co-development, co-evaluation and delivery, is a sustained collaborative process between scientists, producers and decision-makers for the production of useful, actionable and socially robust knowledge, that can help to make policy and management decisions (Goodess et al, 2019). At the heart of the W&CS co-production process, lies actor interactions between the three following broad groups (WMO SG-Ene, 2022):

Knowledge producers. Create weather and climate data and information. They may include national meteorological services, researchers, private sector knowledge producers, national, regional and global climate and atmospheric research centres.

Intermediaries. Act as connectors for knowledge exchange, and may have a good overview of the stakeholders, processes and institutional settings in which the W&CSs are to be co-produced and ensure meaningful interactions among actors occur, enabling a common language and understanding. Intermediaries may include sectoral experts, NGOs and advocacy groups, international cooperation programs, extension services, social scientists, public engagement and communication experts.

Users. Benefit from access and use of weather and climate information. This is a diverse group, at local, national and international scales, who will act based on the information provided by the knowledge producers. Users may also be intermediaries of producers of knowledge as in the case of energy researchers.

Everyone gains when researchers partner with the public and policymakers to help ‘translate’ scientific research outcomes, in this way the knowledge generated is more likely to be useful to society and should be encouraged. To get from scientific information in its ‘raw’ form to information, which is useful and usable, a set of steps are needed. There have been several efforts to identify these steps and refine the processes in practice (Goodess et al., 2019, Vaughan and Dessai 2014, Nature’s special issue Co-production of Research).

Figure 1 shows how climate risks relevant for the energy sector are addressed depending of the type of actor, whether they are climate scientists or energy modelers highlighting the need of ‘translation’ to a meaningful common jargon (Bloomfield et al., 2021).
Figure 1. Samples of identified climate risks related to the energy sector depending on the participant’s research interests. Source: Bloomfield et al., 2021

Figure 1. Samples of identified climate risks related to the energy sector depending on the participant’s research interests. Source: Bloomfield et al., 2021 © American Meteorological Society. Used with permission.

In particular, for Weather and Climate services, there has been a sustained effort to create products that can be used by non-experts (e.g. the Teal Tool, the C3S Climate and Energy Demonstrator, the EU SECLI-FIRM Case studies, the EU S2S4E Decision Support Tool). During the last four decades, innovative technology has been developed including satellites, radar, telecommunications, and supercomputing, which helped scientists dramatically increase their understanding of the climate system (Vaughan and Dessai, 2014), but concurrently models and outputs have become more complex and difficult to understand by the non-experts. At the same time, non-expert users – be it producers, managers, policymakers, or the general public – are exactly the people that could greatly benefit from that information and add value, ‘as climate information has no use until you make decisions based on it’ (Dubus pers. Comm., 2020) or ‘The decision is everything: without serving as a basis for decisions, [climate] prediction would be little more than a stimulating intellectual challenge’ (Harrison et al. 2008).

For climate services, it is important to understand that the model’s outputs are probabilistic and not deterministic, in the sense that they inevitably have a certain degree of uncertainty, which need to be taken into account when making decisions.

Climate services need to be constantly evolving, updating, and refining to keep a close link with research findings, new user needs and our changing climate. There are a set of questions that need to be addressed while developing a tailored product for the final user

(Larosa and Mysiak, 2020). Although the questions posed in Figure 2, are for climate services in general, they are a good start for the iterative process of any service co-production.

Co-producing a service is not a linear, one-way process, it takes time and constant interaction between all involved in the co-design, co-development and co-evaluation processes. Such an iterative interaction between users, intermediaries and producers should ideally follow seven iterative steps that can be revisited according to necessity (Figure 2).

Figure 3: Framework for co-developing integrated weather and climate services (WMO SG-Ene, 2022).
  • Understanding user needs & solutions – This includes understanding context, building partnerships, common ground and co-exploring needs.
  • Data generation & selection – The systematic collection and analysis of user requirements. The outputs of this initial phase can then be used to inform either the selection of available data or the generation of new data or both.
  • Service co-production – Co-design of a project or initiative and co-developing the solutions considering both user needs and knowledge-producers capacities, taking into account the ability and interest of intermediaries in participating and facilitating this process.
  • Operationalisation and Delivery – A robust information production workflow is critical to providing a timely and effective service so it can be used, for instance, to manage predicted extreme events and major disruptions to the grid.
  • User decisions and actions – To properly embed weather and/or climate data into their decision making, users have access to information based on semi-automated decision-making processes (e.g. based on decision trees) and support tools (e.g. interactive visualisation platforms).
  • Value-add and scalability – Assessing a value, be it economic, social or environmental, ensures the outcome of a service is understood and appreciated. Assigning a value is critical for communicating the benefit of the service, and potentially for scaling it up to other geographies and/or sectors and/or typology of users.
  • Assessment and evaluation of services – Setting benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators is critical to ensuring services are effective and successful. Evaluation can have several layers: i) meteorological/climatological evaluation; ii) evaluation of energy-related service components; iii) socio-economic assessment, iv) performance of the delivery of the service, including user support.
  • Capacity development – This takes place across all stages of the co-creation process and may include individual, procedural, infrastructural and organisational spheres of capacity and targeted activities to build these. Capacity development is key to sustain and scale-up service delivery.

Figure 2: Framework for co-developing integrated weather and climate services (WMO SG-Ene, 2022).