CoSIE Seminar on Experiences in Co-creation of Public Services


On February 5, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (HU) hosted the third CoSIE seminar on Experiences in Co-creation of Public Services.

Professor Jean Pierre Wilken (HU) welcomed the seminar participants with nostalgic memories from the beginning moments of the CoSIE project while professor Rob Gründemann (HU) presented the principles and methods of the CoSIE project to the seminar audience.

A keynote speaker, Valeria Montanari, council member of the municipality of Reggio Emilia in Italy presented the “Quartiere Bene Comune” initiative, which aims to activate citizens and civic societies in the policy-making of the municipality. When the neighbourhoods are invited to participate in local development with the municipalities’ decision makers, it is essential to involve the citizens also to the evaluation of the results.

Although neighbourhoods in Reggio Emilia do not have any legal status, they  manifest themselves as unified local communities. The co-creation projects have been social, environmental or educational; for instance after-school programmes and initiatives relating to digitalisation, waste prevention and day care.

Professor Johan Versendaal (HU) discussed responsible co-creation with provoking examples. The possession of data, “the new oil”, grants power, which is why Google is one of the biggest companies today. At the same time, it is healthy to keep in mind that technology can be fallible. We humans need to be aware and continue to ask questions about the data that is provided for us.

The seminar day continued with interactive CoSIE pilot presentations. The buzz of conversation filled the air around the pilot presentation tables. The various ways of co-creating were concretely present, even in the form of goat cheese, honey and pálinka.

After the Food for Thought lunch, we continued to work in several groups experiencing co-creation through games, data curation, and conceptualisation. All in all the conclusion of the day to take along was that it is not all about what you do, but how you do it. We were left with questions to consider further. Is the public service ready to co-create and what are the skills needed in co-creation?