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). A key InnoSI project output is the edited collection Implementing Innovative Social Investment Strategic Lessons from Europe

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

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 are 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.
  • Innovative highlights of individual pilots include:  new cross-sector collaboration in prevention and treatment of childhood obesity (Italy); strengthened local community integration (Hungary), mobilising people from diverse backgrounds – including vulnerable individuals – around co-defined community problems (Estonia); and nationwide uptake of tools co-designed by young people for youth workers (Finland).
  • A legacy of CoSIE is ensured by cross-cutting actions especially in the form of responsibly curated digital storytelling mobilised for change, and the COSMOS tool developed from Living Lab technology within the project to scaffold co-creation by building and sharing visual models.
  • 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

Project downloads

Read more about CoSIE in our three ‘positioning papers’:

Co-Creation of Service Innovations in Europe (CoSIE) Positioning Paper 1 offers a summary of research, policy and concepts that inspired CoSIE.
Where next for Co-Creating Public Services? Positioning paper 2 sets out emerging lessons and new questions from CoSIE.
A New Agenda for Co-Creating Public Services: Positioning Paper 3 draws together key findings from CoSIE with a particular focus on what these imply for new policy and practice.

Reusable learning from CoSIE (tested in a new pilot site) is encapsulated in a MOOC and the accessible, interactive CoSIE Roadmap. You can also access the project website here.




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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