What is co-creation in a Platform for Social Innovation?


    What is co-creation1?

    In this module, we define co-creation as the mechanism through which ideas or solutions regarding a specific problem are developed with the community2.


    What is the objective of the co-creation sessions?

    The objective of the co-creation sessions is to come up with different ideas as regards how to solve specific problems, and to give them shape so that these answers can be made concrete in the form of prototypes3.

    The sessions should be operational and focused on obtaining the best description of these prototypes.

    If other ideas emerge in a session or someone proposes alternatives to the ideas initially proposed, we need to be flexible with regard to the methodology and the times. Remember that the methodology is not the objective of the session.


    What might the outcomes of the co-creation process be?

    The outcomes of a co-creation process are prototypes which usually fit into one of these four categories:

    • COMMUNITY ACTIONS: small scale or community initiatives which do not involve a business model.

    • SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE ACTIONS: small and medium size initiatives which involve a business.

    • LARGE SCALE ACTIONS: large-scale actions that affect the community as a whole, and which involve a business.

    • PUBLIC SERVICES ACTIONS: actions related to the provision of public services and political or regulatory reforms.

    The creation of networks, that is, connecting the people of the community with each other and with other actors, is another desirable and important outcome of the co-creation process.


    How is the link between the co-creation process and the listening process4 maintained?

    There are several ways to make sure the listening process remains active during the co-creation process and that both remain linked, for example:

    1. Conduct new rounds of interviews or use any of the qualitative data collection tools outlined in Module I, Community Listening Process

    2. Ensure a feedback channel between the community and the working groups5, to gather opinions regarding the outcomes of the co-creation sessions.

    As regards how to systematise the outcomes of a co-creation session, you can consult the Tools for synthesis of the outcomes of the co-creation session from Class 2 of Co-creation Module II.



    1. Describe briefly how your organisation or the platform to which you belong maintains the link between the listening process and the co-creation of solutions.

    2. If you have experience participating or organising a co-creation process, share the outcomes you achieved with the Learning Community. Discuss the experiences shared by the other participants from this Community.


    1. Co-creation: Process led by the community in which solutions are developed.
    2. Community: Set of people from a territory or who share a common problem. In a broad sense, this concept includes various actors: informal (people), non-profit organisations (third sector), social enterprises, educational establishments, businesses, government and state organisations.
    3. Prototype: The materialisation of an idea or solution so that we can try it out, learn from it, adapt, modify or, possibly, discard it.
    4. Listening process: A set of tools and activities used to learn in detail about the needs, challenges and opportunities facing the community.
    5. Working group: Set of people participating in a co-creation or prototyping session, made up of different profiles of people, both from the community - in a broad sense - and experts. Its composition can be modified, and its number increased or decreased depending on the progress made as regards the idea being developed.
    6. Social innovation: "New ideas (products, services and processes) which simultaneously satisfy social needs in a more efficient way than existing ones and create new and lasting social relationships or collaborations.They are innovations that are not only good for society, but also improve its ability to act."