Understanding the value of co-creation for social innovation interpretations of social innovation and co-creation in European policy-related documents between 1995 and 2018

Peter Meister Broekema*, Lummina G. Horlings, Elisabeth Alice Maria Bulder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Social innovation and co-creation have been discussed in academic literature for the last twenty years. However, the interrelatedness and application of these concepts in European Union policy deserves more attention. In our study, we focus on this relationship and application, by analysing the value of co-creation for social innovation. By analysing a large EU dataset, we showed that social innovation and co-creation were used more and more widely and that their use took off after 2010 and 2015 respectively. By applying a contextual analysis, we also revealed that both concepts became connected in EU policy on research and innovation. Our analysis also shows that co-creation became an indicator for successful social innovation in the Horizon Europe Framework programme. These results show the importance of co-creation in policies, but because the concept has not been defined properly, this carries the risk of simplifying co-creation into a box-ticking exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-308
Number of pages18
Journal Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research
Issue number2
Early online date7-Apr-2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • social innovation
  • co-creation
  • societal impact
  • European Union
  • EU policy

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