Co-creative approaches to knowledge production & implementation

Co-creative approaches to knowledge production and implementation series (part 1): Introduction

This article is part 1 of a series of articles based on a special issue of the journal Evidence & Policy.

The concept of the co-creation of knowledge is gaining considerable momentum. For example, the SDG Lab has put forward a list of co-creation rules of engagement as part of a new toolkit developed to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), RealKM’s Dr. Arthur Shelley has also used co-creation as a foundation of the highly effective Creative Melbourne annual event, and I’ve used co-creation in numerous projects.

However, as the editorial1 of a newly published special issue of the journal Evidence & Policy advises, evidence to support co-creation as a knowledge mobilisation intervention remains thin on the ground. This means that as a potential strategy for transforming relationships between knowledge producers, policy makers, practitioners and publics, co-creation continues to sound somewhat optimistic if not naïve.

The special issue arises from an international pursuit funded by the US National Science Foundation through SESYNC (the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center) to further explore the contribution of co-creation to support the use of evidence in policy and practice change. Pursuits are collaborative, transdisciplinary activities where teams come together to work through a topic or challenge. For this pursuit, the focus was on co-creative capacity, which was defined as ‘the deep involvement of a range of key stakeholders across scientific, governance, and local practice boundaries to create the infrastructure and context that enables and sustains the use of evidence in practice’.

Titled “Co-creative approaches to knowledge production and implementation”, the special issue is guest edited by Allison Metz, Annette Boaz, and Glenn Robert. Professor Allison Metz is a Senior Research Scientist and Implementation Division Lead at the University of North Carolina. Annette Boaz is a Professor of Health Care Research at St George’s University of London and Kingston University. Glenn Robert is a Professor at King’s College London. Evidence & Policy is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to comprehensive and critical assessment of the relationship between research evidence and the concerns of policy makers and practitioners, as well as researchers.

The contributors come from a diverse set of disciplinary backgrounds, work in different policy and practice domains, and span geographic boundaries – North America, South America, Europe and Australia. The guest editors advise that while the contributors share a commitment to promoting evidence use and experience of working with stakeholders, they are not experts in co-creation. Rather, they have developed their thinking together over a series of international meetings, and the special issue presents a selection for the international evidence and policy audience.

The individual papers grapple with a range of issues. These include whether co-creation is distinct from other modes of research and practice approaches – including, for example, stakeholder participation – and whether there are common features that guide co-creative processes and produce value to participants. The papers consider specific tools for supporting co-creation and suggest methods for assessing whether co-creation achieves the intended benefits.

RealKM Magazine is very pleased to be bringing you a series of articles based on this important special issue over the coming weeks. This has been made possible by the publication of the special issue as open access and under a Creative Commons license. The guest editors and paper authors are commended for their leadership in this regard.

Next part (part 2): What is co-creation and why is it used?

Article source: Adapted from the Evidence & Policy special issue Co-creative approaches to knowledge production: what next for bridging the research to practice gap?, CC BY-NC 4.0.

Header image source: Adapted from an image by Michelle Pacansky-Brock on Flickr, CC BY 2.0.


  1. Metz, A., Boaz, A., & Robert, G. (2019). Co-creative approaches to knowledge production: what next for bridging the research to practice gap?. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 15(3), 331-337.
Rate this post

Also published on Medium.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (, and a knowledge management (KM), environmental management, and project management professional. He is a PhD candidate in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group at Wageningen University and Research, and holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction. His expertise and experience includes knowledge management (KM), environmental management, project management, stakeholder engagement, teaching and training, communications, research, and writing and editing. With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee an award-winning $77.4 million western Sydney river recovery program, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support the sustainable management of landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

Related Articles

Back to top button