Welcome to the SCALINGS interactive policy roadmap!

Group of people sharing ideas
Illustrations by Claire Paq and Inês Gomes Ferreira

On this website, you can explore multiple pathways towards socially inclusive and responsible co-creation in Europe. The interactive format will guide you through our roadmap step by step. Depending on your professional role, choices and interests, we provide you with individually tailored questions and recommendations that will help you design, implement or evaluate co-creation activities in your specific context in socially inclusive and responsible ways.

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What is co-creation?

Co-creation is a new approach to improving innovation processes and their outcomes. The term “co-creation” broadly denotes the collaboration of diverse actors, such as companies, universities, policymakers and members of the public, in innovation processes. Co-creation is often understood as a way of sparking new ideas for innovation processes and making innovations more user-friendly and hence more successful on the market. However, at the same time, co-creation is also heralded as an opportunity for making innovation processes more socially inclusive and responsible because it allows innovators to integrate diverse actors into the innovation process. It is the latter perspective that we foreground in this roadmap.

Why participation matters

Social and technological innovations shape our lives on an everyday basis. For example, transport infrastructures in urban and rural areas significantly shape who can participate how in social life. If transport infrastructures are highly individualized, for example if they are largely based on individually owned cars, this excludes members of the public who cannot afford ownership of a car from a range of activities. Particularly if we are designing new technological innovations, for example new transport infrastructures, it is thus important to include a range of voices from the public to avoid introducing unjust biases. Co-creation activities can serve this goal if they are designed to encourage the participation of diverse members of the public. In this roadmap, we want to provide guidance on how to achieve this goal.

About this roadmap

As part of SCALINGS, we have conducted research about co-creative innovation practices across countries, instruments and technological domains, with the explicit aim to create a policy roadmap for co-creation in Europe. In this roadmap, we consider co-creation in the context of some of the key challenges Europe is facing today, such as growing social inequality and questions of how to ensure the social and political participation of members of the public regardless of their socio-economic position.
To answer these questions, we have drawn on the diversity of case studies that the SCALINGS project offered. These case studies showed how different co-creation can look when it follows different goals and approaches and involves different stakeholders. We analyzed these case studies in their specific situated contexts and arrived at a crucial insight: that the specific social context is decisive for how a co-creation activity must be designed in order to achieve successful and diverse participation in innovation activities. Therefore, instead of prescribing what co-creation must look like in order to achieve successful and diverse participation in innovation activities, we offer a set of criteria formulated as assessment questions that empower co-creation actors to design co-creation activities that will work in their specific context. We call this assessment tool “Social Impact Assessment for Socially Inlcusive and Responsible Co-creation”.
As a second part of the roadmap, we complement the social impact assessment with an explorative analysis of key legal aspects that practitioners of co-creation must consider. Co-creation challenges existing legal frameworks in multiple ways by inviting the public into innovation activities that usually happen behind closed doors. Where the law complicates co-creation or even conflicts with it, we have formulated concrete recommendations to different stakeholders in the EU.