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Article

Addressing societal challenges through the simultaneous generation of social and business values: A conceptual framework for science-based co-creation

Technovation. 2021.
De Silva M., Gokhberg L., Meissner D., Margherita R.

The paper focuses on a key uniqueness of the simultaneous generation of social and business value - across science, technology and society - involving academics, businesses, policy makers, innovation intermediaries, NGOs and citizens that share and integrate assets in developing solutions to address economic and societal challenges.

By contrasting with a broad literature using the term ‘co-creation’ to denote close working relationship between actors, the paper outlines a conceptual framework explaining how the diversity of agents involved, their motivations and goals, and incentive structures in which they operate impact on science-based co-creation. This multidimensional perspective is discussed with regard to the scope of innovation, reach and types of values that are generated, and the distinctive features to be considered when both social and business value are at the core of collaboration.

Policy implications to support science-based co-creation are discussed with regard to the rationale for public interventions and the critical dimensions of policy implementation and assessment. It highlights that policy design aiming at supporting societal challenges through co-creation should address mechanisms to integrate tangible and intangible inputs, define suitable operational models and enhance specific capabilities and practices.