What is it? When is it used?
Co-innovation is a collaborative approach which research teams can use to address real-world problems. Such problems may require scientists from a range of different disciplines to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams. Multiple different stakeholders may be impacted or have an interest in either the problem or potential solutions. Stakeholders may include policy-makers and planners (central and regional government), next and end-users, business and industry bodies, interest and advocacy groups and NGOs, etc. as well as the general public. These groups may have different perspectives on the problem issue, and be differentially affected by both the problem and solution.
Using a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder co-innovation approach should help researcher teams to more clearly define the problem, create better, more inclusive solution(s), and gain greater adoption with increased impact to address the problem.
If your project is addressing a real-world problem and using a co-innovation approach, the Co-innovation Reflection and Evaluation Tool may be used, during the course of the project, to help reflect on and improve the co-innovation processes of your research team. Additionally, at the end of a project, it may be used to evaluate the degree to which the project team applied the five principles of success. The success principles are practical processes to help ensure that the co-innovation process works well. The Co-Innovation Guidelines outline how to build co-innovation into a research project using the success principles.
The Principles of Success are:
1. Involve partners and stakeholders
2. Take a problem focus
3. Assemble the right team
4. Front up: Share results early and often
5. Use the action learning cycle
Each of these principles is operationalised in the Co-innovation Reflection and Evaluation Tool through a set of five statements which are rated on a 7-point Likert scale. For evaluation purposes, a rating for each principle may be calculated by averaging the five statement ratings, and an overall principle score may be calculated by averaging all of the statement ratings. Mean ratings for all survey statements across the team will provide additional information for reflection and diagnostic purposes. In addition, each principle has an open-ended question so that respondents may make free text comments about the application of the principle in their project or explain the rationale for ratings.
How is it used?
Research team members, including the stakeholder representatives, are surveyed using a 34 item questionnaire. The questionnaire results are statistically analysed for mean statement ratings, mean principle ratings, and mean overall co-innovation rating, across the team. Range and standard deviation may also be useful for understanding the degree of consensus amongst the team.
To help reflect upon and improve the co-innovation process the results of the survey should be discussed at a full meeting of the research team and used as a basis for determining what is being done well and what needs to improve regarding the practice of co-innovation in the project. This discussion can them move on to determine strategies and actions to adaptively manage the project to enhance the practice of co-innovation and consequently the impact of the research project.