Co-creation. What now?
Some early thoughts on a book chapter project about social innovation and co-creation.
Title: Co-creation. What now?
Authors: Cian O’Donovan, Melanie Smallman
Presented at: 4S Annual Meeting 2021. 9th October 2021
Session: Interrogating “Co-creation”: The good, the bad and the ugly
Like all the best epistemic imaginaries, co-creation eludes easy interpretation. Researchers have shown that for some, co-creation merely grants the cover of participation to business as usual. While for others, it opens up possibilities for radical collective knowledge making.
But co-creation does other work too. It mobilises funding. It creates convening space for scholars, firms and civil society. And it offers productive ambiguity that may at least temporarily and under certain conditions, destabilise meaning and order. Work that in their own way, imaginaries like sustainability have been doing for years.
In this paper we try to make sense of our own encounters with co-creation while working on two Horizon Europe projects investigating science, technology and innovation policy. We reflect on a set of research tasks in which we have followed – and sometimes participated in – promises, practices and policies of co-creation. And we ask, what now? What continues to be at stake for promoters and practitioners of co-creation and what contribution remains for critical scholarship?