In order to confront challenges related to austerity, globalization and ageing, contemporary western governments feel the urge to socially innovate. In social innovation the role of citizens in public services is recognized as a possible valuable asset in order to implement public services more effective, more service oriented and also more efficient. However, in order to be really innovative and thoroughly reform public services, citizens are not only invited to ‘play-along’, but also to ‘co-design’ public services and even initiate public service delivery. This is labeled as ‘public co-creation’. Although the concept of co-creation becomes more popular in the public domain (see for instance Benington, 2009). Most research on public co-creation analyzed either the identification of influential factors (e.g. Bovaird & Loeffler, 2012; Fuglsang, 2008; Farr, 2013) or described different types of co-creation (e.g. Pestoff, 1998, Carr 2012). Much is still unknown about the outcomes of co-creation processes, and which factors influence these outcomes (see also Voorberg, Bekkers & Tummers, forthcoming). Furthermore, an overall conceptual framework which aids in the understanding of co-creation processes is lacking. In this paper, we will therefore a) develop a conceptual framework of possible drivers and barriers that influence the process and outcomes of public co-creation outcomes and b) test this framework using a comparative case study design. In order to examine this research question we will develop a conceptual framework, consisting of three main elements: 1) the different types of co-creation and the factors influencing co-creation processes (see for an overview Voorberg et al. forthcoming; Verschuere, Brandsen & Pestoff 2012). 2) we will discuss the different stakeholders involved, as co-creation is embedded in a network in which actors (such as citizens) exchange ideas, definitions and relevant resources (Sørensen & Torfing, 2011; Hartley, 2005; Chesbrough, 2003; Von Hippel, 2005; 1987). 3) We will address the outcomes of co-creation and how can they be assessed. In the literature from the private sector, co-creation is often been defined in terms of the co-creation of value (e.g Vargo & Lusch, 2004; Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2000) which implies that co-creation in the public sector implies the co-creation of public value (Benington & Moore, 2011; Moore, 1995; March & Olson, 1989; Stone, 2003). We will therefore analyze the outcomes of co-creation in terms of achieved public values. After developing the theoretical framework, we will test this, by using a comparative case study. This study is based on two examples of public co-creation in social innovation in the Dutch welfare and rural regeneration domain. In doing so we will choose two contrasting cases, thereby opting for a most-dissimilar case study design (Yin, 2003). The assumption is that by working with contrasting case studies we will be able to get a deeper understanding about what are relevant drivers and barriers and how do they account for possible outcomes.

Keywords: Public co-creation, public value, social innovation, comparative case-study, social welfare

Additional Metadata
Keywords social innovation, public institutions
Publisher erasmus universit
Sponsor The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 320090 (Project Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments, LIPSE), Socioeconomic Sciences and Humanities. LIPSE. The project focusses on studying social innovations in the public sector (
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Conference IRSPM – conference
Voorberg, W.H, Bekkers, V.J.J.M, & Tummers, L.G. (2014). Co-creation in social innovation: A comparative case-study on the influential factors and outcomes of co-creation. Presented at the IRSPM – conference, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from