Co-creation in Public Service Innovation: A review of how to encourage employee engagement in co-creation

DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th - 17th August 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Mogstad, Astrid; Høiseth, Marikken; Pettersen, Ida Nilstad
Series: NordDESIGN
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


The public service sector in Norway needs to innovate itself to meet challenges and structural changes such as globalization, automation of work tasks, demographic change, the sharing economy and pressure to deliver more for less. At the same time, attempts at creating change face resistance. Approaches proposed to address the challenges and foster innovation, such as co-creation and co-design, may also challenge attitudes towards creativity, process management and decision-making. As knowledge is limited on how to stimulate participants to reach their full potential as co-creators and keep them from stepping down, we conducted a literature review to identify what motivates and engages employees of public services to participate in co-creation. In addition, interviews were conducted to learn how employees of a specific public service experienced being part of a co-creation design project. The review revealed opportunity, ownership, good collaboration, autonomy and experienced meaningfulness as important for participants to reach their potential as co-creators, and time and resource constraints as potentially hindering this. How to actually succeed in practice is a topic worth further exploration. The interviews largely confirmed the literature findings, but highlighted an additional, understudied issue: that of being aware of and catering to the many different roles in and around a co-creation project. Employees and other stakeholders who are peripheral to a co-creation project may be important to its implementation and to service delivery, and negative experiences may lead to scepticism. To lessen resistance to change and successfully foster and implement innovations, taking care of those with more peripheral roles in a co-creation project is important. Further research should be done on the issue, but some preliminary suggestions include that communication should be emphasised and everyone kept informed about what decisions have been made and how, and about the effectiveness of what is to be or has been implemented

Keywords: Service design, co-creation, co-design, motivation, public sector


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