Towards a description of cocreation

I know many of you aren’t worried about describing cocreation. I unfortunately tell people that’s what I do (I sell it!), so I’m doing it every day. I’d appreciate any thoughts on my latest iteration: “Cocreation is an umbrella term encapsulating many different approaches, all reflecting a philosophy for responding the a challenge - ‘how can we work together?’ This philosophy is creative and grounded; holistic and systemic; participatory and empowering”

A longer version, with some explanation

Cocreation is an umbrella term encapsulating many different approaches and methodologies that are ‘cocreative’.

These approaches reflect a philosophy for solving the collective action problem, or

answering the question - 'how can we work together

(to create together, to bring what we want to see into the world)?’

This philosophy is

creative and grounded in reality (real action, real outcomes)

holistic, systemic and integrated

participatory, responsive to human need, and empowering

AND/OR any other number of values that reflect what we believe cocreation to be - i.e. exactly the sorts of value-list created at Ci2i.  I have not created the above list with direct reference to the Ci2i Lab harvest, these are just the words I use to describe my own work.

AND as a side note… I believe that this description of cocreation… the values that we see in it, have no particular fundamental nature, nor even a fundamentally positive value, EXCEPT that they reflect a common response (emotional more than anything) to pathologies we see in the world around us, problems that we see in how people relate and do things together, and things that we see are missing.

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a way of thinking and approaching challenges that allows the com

Oran took the time to write a response, but couldn’t log in.  So here it is (and my thoughts in return)


Co-creation is a way of thinking and approaching challenges that allows the combined intelligence of all stakeholders involved to guide a process. The stakeholders are able to define reality together, name their challenges, their visions as well as their desires and ideas and then take action together accordingly, consistently turning back to the collective so that what is produced emerges from the collective intelligence of the environment the stakeholders create

Me again:
I like the iterativity/referentiality.
It could rely less on intelligence... I always fear dropping into the paradigm of collective intelligence which involves us all being very smart together, and then no-one (or worse yet a central authority) taking action.  It's a bit of a bugbear of mine... working a lot with government.
I like the way Theory U treats that process.  Presencing is very embodied, and felt - not just thought.
Oran, do you feel that this (with 'thinking' removed) captures the same essence of what you had in mind, or would this be breaking it?  And if it breaks it, what is the part that needs to be there:
"a way of approaching challenges, a shared process that allows the best contributions of all stakeholders involved"
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It begs a co-created definition

The challenge I have with “defining” co-creation is that everyone is going to define it differently… and that has to be ok. Nobody owns the term, and it’s going to resonate with people differently, depending on their context. When people sign up as practitioners on the Ci2i Global site, we ask them “what does co-creative impact mean to you.” I thought you might find it interesting to see a sampling of responses we’ve received:

  • Nurturing the natural process of people generating and manifesting solutions to the collective challenges we face.
  • An intervention which has been bought about by collaborations of compassionate, open-minded individuals and groups, sharing insights, experiences and reaching out to share their experiences with others.  The impact (or intervention) produces a powerful shift - a shock perhaps - and results in a departure from existing circumstances to a new phase. 
  • Harnessing the knowledge and passion of individuals to create something greater and with deeper impact, together.
  • I use co-creation for mutual learning between academic researchers practitioners, societal stakeholders, policy makers, patients and citizens. I see co-creation as a means to increase the societal impact of (academic) research.
  • Create together a positive, meaningful, effective change for an harmonious world
  • If  a person is  able to work and share ideas, tools that enable a person  discover how things can be done in different way to bring positive changes in a society that needs it,  I call this  co-creativity. 
  • Co-creation is what we do. Most of the time, though, we do it unconsciously. This has caused the current world challenges we are currently facing. The epic adventure before us is to find simple and courageous ways to challenge every paradigm we collectively own and every belief we hold dear in order to co-create what it is we desire. This requires nothing short of death and rebirth. This requires our most vulnerable truths and our deepest humanity and a lot of genius at the design table. I like to call this the marraige of innervation and innovation. We are all needed in this co-creation. All are invited. This is what co-creative impact means to me.
  • Superteams to achieve extraordinary results in short time.
  • "A way of being. THE WAY. Peace."
  • It means building on what each other has already learned, iterating on those learnings and then bringing that new knowledge back into the system/network/community.
  • Co-Creative impact is an ongoing process of collaborative action and learning among people and communities of diverse backgrounds woven together by shared visions, values, and intentions.
  • The Biggest Opportunities.
  • The opportunity to co-create, foster and render generative multiple ways of being, understanding, doing and evolving in Self and others on a global basis (for a start!).
  • For me, it's about creating and sustaining communities through the building of resilience, traditional notions of hospitality (xenia), and resisting homogenisation due to the corporate neoliberal ideology.
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Great list!

That’s a great list to draw inspiration and insight from!

in context

I find myself defining it in context - that methods that have preceded it did not engage stakeholders in a generative process of active listening and enablement. Sure being creative together is great, but it is also a solution to a previously noted problem - who wasn’t being heard and given a voice and power, that in some ways Ostrom’s polycentricity speaks to - the decisions need to be made near the edge where they are impactful.