PERU worked with a consortium of 24 partners across Europe on Co-creation of Service Innovations in Europe (CoSIE) from 2017 to 2021. Co-ordinated by Turku University of Applied Sciences, the consortium comprised universities, companies, public agencies and civil society organizations. CoSIE was informed by learning from research undertaken in Innovative Social Investment; Strengthening Communities in Europe (InnoSI)  led by PERU (2015- 2017).

What is co-creation?

The consortium adopted a definition of co-creation as “a collaborative activity that reduces power imbalances and aims to enrich and enhance the value in public service offerings”.

What was the need?

Established solutions often fail to address contemporary social needs.  There is widespread agreement that innovation is needed in public services but little consensus how to achieve it.

What were we doing?

CoSIE took a step forward from InnoSI by co-designing, enacting and evaluating ten real-life pilots to test and develop diverse methods of co-creation.

Sue Baines led the largest CoSIE work package ‘Applied co-creation in pilots’ in partnership with the University of Bologna. The pilots took place in nine countries and various services (including health, social care, employment support and criminal justice). They responded to locally determined social needs and priorities.  The UK pilot was ‘Personalised services for people with convictions – My Direction

The focus of CoSIE was on human dimensions but the consortium also searched for new ways to use digital resources to enable co-creation in public services. Cross-cutting work packages including Community Reporting and Living Labs  helped to maximise learning and impact.

What were the results / outcomes?

  • The CoSIE pilots demonstrate that it is possible to value the lived experience of people who receive public services and nurture their contributions to shaping the services that affect them. This can happen even in contexts that look highly unpromising such as criminal justice.
  • Animating co-creative activity can be hard work but is much easier than maintaining it. Real, visible results are essential because without them there is a danger of disillusionment and cynicism.
  • It is very easy at policy level to overstate the potential of digital media and understate the reasons why popular commercial platforms may be unwelcome and even inappropriate for some marginalised and stigmatised groups. Community Reporting, in contrast, curates stories in ways that are governable and ethically responsible, and enables them to be mobilised for change.
  • Some CoSIE pilots have managed to get beyond local implementation and begun to make a difference on a larger scale. Common factors that distinguish them appear to be energetic and proactive networking, enrolling the interest of stakeholders with power to act, and meeting perceived needs of other agencies in other places

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Read more about CoSIE in our three ‘positioning papers’

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Disclaimer This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 770492. The content of the web site reflects the authors’ views and the Managing Agency cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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