Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation
How did COVID-19 shape co-creation?
Insights and policy lessons from international initiatives
Co-creation – the joint production of innovation between combinations of industry,
research, government and civil society – was widely used to respond to COVID-19 challenges.
This paper analyses 30 international co-creation initiatives that were implemented
to address COVID-19 challenges. Evidence on these initiatives was gathered based on
structured interviews with initiative leaders. Existing co-creation networks enabled
the rapid emergence of new initiatives to address urgent needs, while digital technologies
enabled establishing new – and, where necessary, socially distanced – collaborations.
Aside from funding initiatives, governments engaged actively in co-creation by granting
access to their networks, advising on initiative goals and offering support to improve
quick delivery. The role of civil society was important as well, and the socially
impactful nature of research and innovation was a motivating factor for engagement.
Harnessing a similarly strong motivation is an important driver of effective future
co-creation endeavours also to address the challenges of the green transition.