SCALINGS is an interdisciplinary European research consortium that studies and advances the widespread use of co-creation practices across Europe.

Co-creation is the practice of bringing together diverse actors in a joint innovation activity to mutually benefit each other. SCALINGS aims to investigate and reflexively shape the implementation of co-creation practices in three technological domains: Robotics, Urban Energy Systems and Autonomous Driving.

It is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Science with and for Society Programme.

Local Social, Cultural and Institutional Differences Matter for Innovation

SCALINGS starts from the idea, that local social, cultural and institutional differences are important for innovation.

When a diversity of stakeholders innovate together, it is essential to address questions, such as:

  • How is the innovation process organised?
  • Do specific agencies have to be involved for the technical approval process?
  • Which product design is acceptable for the producers and potential users?

These questions are highly context-dependent and relevant for innovators and companies: When engineers, doctors, patients and their relatives co-develop a healthcare robot for a hospital in Munich, it might be optimally suited for this environment. However, it is uncertain whether the robot will fit the social, cultural, economic or organizational context of another hospital, city, region or country. But companies count on scaling up to wider markets, which is why stakeholders around Europe are eager to learn from successful co-creation practices elsewhere.

Co-creation has emerged as a widely desired key resource in current attempts to enhance innovation processes and outcomes. Co-creation is an umbrella term that captures a variety of activities where different innovation actors gather in a joint activity to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. Different scientific disciplines have emphasized different aspect of co-creation, such as social robustness, responsibility, collective creativity, knowledge flows, and better alignment with consumer needs.

Co-creation is seen as a key resource for both European competitiveness and responsible innovation.
Yet, uptake across Europe remains thoroughly unequal, and local effects on single co-creation instruments are not well understood. In particular, no systematic knowledge exists on the sociocultural variability of co-creation processes and outcomes – i.e. how they depend on social, political, economic, and organizational contexts.

Situated co-creation is a framework that explicitly accounts for differences in socio-political context in the design of co-creation instruments. It draws on insights that analytic perspectives and processes of innovation are always culturally situated.

Socially robust scaling is a framework for operationalizing these insights from situated co-creation to allow for a wider dissemination and uptake of co-creation and to articulate them in a policy roadmap. It replaces the paradigm of mere scientific validity in the lab.

Mainstreaming Co-creation Means Scaling-up Co-creation to Other Places

Stage 1: Gap Analysis – Collect Experiences

SCALINGS will work with engineers, companies, and policy-makers to collect experiences and identify best practices or failure examples of existing co-creation processes.

SCALINGS explores three co-creation instruments

  • Public Procurement of Innovation
  • Co-creation Facilities
  • Living Labs

in three technological domain

  • Robotics
  • Urban Energy
  • Autonomous Driving

and studies how these instruments operate in 10 different European countries.

Stage 2: Testing Interventions – Analysis and New Insights

Now, SCALINGS flips the conventional notion of best practice transfer on its head:
Instead of asking only once how well a co-creation instrument has been implemented, SCALINGS analyses the differences and outcomes in how various actors use the supposedly same co-creation instrument.

SCALINGS will conduct a series of experimental interventions with the goal to systematically improve the innovation activities in selected case studies. This gaining new insights on the scalability and transferability of co-creation practices.

Stage 3: Exploitation – Policy Roadmapping and Dissemination

In this stage, SCALINGS will monitor international policy developments, which will provide the basis for developing a policy roadmap.

The roadmap will provide a strategic plan to define milestones and outcomes to reach the goal of a more effective and efficient innovation environment in Europe.

Furthermore, SCALINGS will make the research results available to a broad public:
To policymakers, social scientists and social science students, engineers and company representatives and everyone interested in co-creation.

Where to go from here

Main Research Question
Co-Creation Instruments
Case Studies
Research Areas

The SCALINGS Consortium

SCALINGS is an interdisciplinary project that brings together social scientists, engineers, policy-makers, and industry partners from all over Europe. Coordinated by TU Munich, the SCALINGS  consortium consists of members from ten institutions, including four EuroTech universities.

Find out more about our projcect consortium.

Research Team
Partner Institutions