Co-Designing a New User-Owned Approach to Factory Training

We worked with Marks and Spencer garment suppliers in Cambodia to co-design a factory based health programme HealthWorks to help suppliers to take ownership for planning and implementing health awareness initiatives in the workplace.

Using a service design approach, we developed a HealthWorks Toolkit to enable factory managers to plan a week long interactive health awareness campaign.

The Toolkit provides a planner, step-by-step activity ideas and communications materials focusing on one or more of the Toolkit’s five topics: - Nutrition, Hygiene, Hydration, Sexual Health, Maternal Health.

Unlike existing supplier based health programmes, HealthWorks is owned by suppliers themselves. They are responsible for choosing which topics to focus on, what activities to run, how to run them and when they choose to hold the health campaign.

This is in contrast to most factory based health initiatives which tend to be outsourced to external providers and formally run. HealthWorks on the other hand relies on informal games and activities as a means of engaging large number of workers and promoting simple health messages.

Four factories piloted HealthWorks in late 2015 with great success. In fact, factory managers were taken by surprise at how well their employees responded to the initiative. More than 50% of employees at all the sites were engaged in the health campaign activities.

Every single employee said that they wanted to see similar campaigns in the future. The employees were left energised and focused following the campaign. M&S is currently using mobile phone evaluation to track longer term outcomes.

Importantly, factory managers all said that the initiative, including the co-design process helped to build their own confidence and skills to organise more engaging and effective social campaigns in the future. This was a key skills gap that we had identified in the design process.

Our work in Cambodia underlines that is possible to engage suppliers to go beyond compliance to make long lasting changes for those who make our clothes. It’s about including factory managers and workers as part of the design process and making sure that the topics and activities really speak to their cultural context.


If you would like to find out more about our work with suppliers, please drop us a line by reaching us here.

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