Tackling societal challenges together: Co-creation strategies and social innovation in EU policy and funded projects

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Abstract

The last decade we saw an increasing academic, policy, and professional interest in the use of co-creation to tackle societal challenges. Most research focused on qualitative analysis of case studies. This led to an understanding that co-creation is essential for social innovation. We started this paper by analyzing co-creation strategies ex ante to understand how EU-funded consortia intend to tackle societal challenges. By quantitatively analyzing 300 EU projects and qualitatively analyzing the Horizon2020 “co-creation for growth and inclusion” call, our research revealed four different types of consortia. We characterized these types by the coordinators and dubbed them, respectively, as research led, government led, enterprise led, and other led. These consortia were quite different in terms of diversity and preferred partners. We also distinguished three distinct co-creation strategies that are focused on inclusion of stakeholders, the outcome, or tool development. We discovered that these strategies are not linked to types of consortia or projects, but only to the call text. We therefore conclude that the policy design of Horizon2020 led to a program that aims to stimulate innovation, but has become too rigid to be able to do so.

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Meister Broekema, P., Horlings, L. G., & Bulder, E. (2022). Tackling societal challenges together: Co-creation strategies and social innovation in EU policy and funded projects. European Policy Analysis, 8(1), 68–86. https://doi.org/10.1002/epa2.1133

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