The meanings of co‐creation

Nicholas Ind (Oslo School of Management, Oslo, Norway)
Nick Coates (Promise, London, UK)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Publication date: 4 January 2013



The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the diverse strands that underpin the still emerging concept of co‐creation. The paper aims to suggest that there are alternative views rooted in psychotherapy, critical theory, software development and design that can help provide a richer understanding of the meaning of co‐creation.


The paper is a general review of the field based on the literature and the different strands that comprise it.


Co‐creation is often seen from a managerial perspective. In this general review of the concept, the authors demonstrate that co‐creation can also be seen from the perspective of consumers and other stakeholders. This also shifts the idea of co‐creation away from a strongly rational approach to one that is more spontaneous and playful.

Practical implications

The review focuses primarily on consumers and how they can be encouraged to collaborate with one another to meet their needs for socialisation and meaning making and how organizations can influence and use the insights of co‐creation.


Over the past decade there has been a rapidly growing interest in co‐creation, but much of the research focuses on the creation and management of online communities. By recognising the antecedents of managerial co‐creation and its diverse heritage, it is possible to see the concept as a development of other practices. By drawing on these practices, it is possible to look at co‐creation in a new light.



Ind, N. and Coates, N. (2013), "The meanings of co‐creation", European Business Review, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 86-95.

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