Co-creation, the collaborative production of innovation by industry, research, government, and civil society, played a critical role in addressing the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper examines 30 international co-creation initiatives that were implemented to address COVID-19 challenges. Evidence was gathered through structured interviews with initiative leaders. Existing co-creation networks facilitated the emergence of new initiatives to address urgent needs, while digital technologies allowed for new collaborations to be established, including socially-distanced ones. In addition to funding initiatives, governments played an active role in co-creation by granting access to their networks, advising on initiative goals, and offering support to ensure timely delivery. Civil society also played a crucial role, with the socially impactful nature of research and innovation serving as a motivating factor for engagement. Harnessing similar motivation will be an essential driver of future co-creation initiatives to address the challenges of the green transition.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, and co-creation emerged as a critical tool to address them. Co-creation is a collaborative approach to innovation that involves industry, research, government, and civil society. To understand the role of co-creation in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper analyzes 30 international initiatives that were implemented in response to the crisis.
Existing co-creation networks facilitated the emergence of new initiatives to address urgent needs. These networks were able to leverage existing relationships and trust to quickly form partnerships between stakeholders. In addition, digital technologies played a crucial role in facilitating new collaborations. Virtual platforms enabled new partnerships to be established and facilitated communication among partners, even in situations where physical meetings were not possible due to social distancing measures.
Governments played a significant role in co-creation by granting access to their networks, advising on initiative goals, and offering support to ensure timely delivery. In some cases, governments provided funding for co-creation initiatives. However, the involvement of governments was not limited to funding; they also played a role in providing support and guidance to help initiatives meet their goals.
Civil society also played a critical role in co-creation initiatives. The socially impactful nature of research and innovation was a motivating factor for engagement. In some cases, civil society organizations served as intermediaries, connecting different stakeholders and facilitating collaboration.
The lessons learned from co-creation initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic can inform future co-creation efforts, particularly those focused on the green transition. The socially impactful nature of research and innovation can serve as a motivating factor for engagement in co-creation initiatives focused on addressing environmental challenges. Additionally, governments can play a significant role in supporting these initiatives by granting access to networks, providing guidance and support, and, where appropriate, funding. Digital technologies will continue to be a crucial enabler of co-creation, facilitating the establishment of new partnerships and supporting collaboration among stakeholders.
In conclusion, co-creation emerged as a critical tool in responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lessons learned from the 30 co-creation initiatives analyzed in this paper highlight the importance of existing networks, digital technologies, government support, and civil society engagement in successful co-creation initiatives. Harnessing the socially impactful nature of research and innovation will be crucial in driving effective co-creation initiatives to address the challenges of the green transition.