Co-creation with stakeholders in the development of nanotechnologies

Co-creation with stakeholders in the development of nanotechnologies

Author: Sikke Jansma – University of Twente, Netherlands, Netherlands


  • Anne M. Dijkstra – University of Twente, Netherlands

Within literature co-creation has been referred to as socially robust knowledge production (Gudowsky & Sotoudeh, 2017), product creation and development (Voorberg et al., 2015), and as the highest form of public engagement (Arnstein, 1969). Although co-creation increasingly gained attention within the domain of science and technology studies and science communication, little is known about how to effectively design co-creation processes.

The current research is a comparison of three co-creation sessions in the Netherlands on the development of nanotechnologies in health. Various types of stakeholders were present, including researchers, citizens, policymakers, CSOs, and business experts. Each co-creation sessions lasted 4,5 hours and was based on design thinking methodology (e.g., Yoo et al., 2013). The aim and thematic area differed per session, including: nanotechnologies for diabetes (product suggestions), sensor technologies for health (research lines), and policymaking for nanotechnology in health (policy recommendations). Every session was recorded, and after every session participants filled out a questionnaire. Based on the recordings and the questionnaires, the indicators ‘mutual trust and understanding’, ‘co-creation process’, and ‘outcomes’ were analyzed, and criteria for setting up an effective co-creation process were detracted.

It proved essential to explore stakeholders’ needs during the preparation for having an in-depth discussion and come to specific outcomes. The more open the co-creation process was, the more difficult it was to detect a sense of ownership. Furthermore, there is a trade-off between inclusiveness and specific discussions; the latter leads to more relevant output, but for a smaller group of stakeholders. Some stakeholder emphasized the importance of including (potential) users rather than citizens in this regard. In order to come to added value for product and research development, one co-creation session was not sufficient, but a continuous dialogue is needed.

The study was conducted as part of the EU funded GoNano project (Grant Agreement n° 768622)

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Transformation