Cocreation as a concept and a practice is still taking form. I am exploring these ideas myself, in between actually doing it. There are some great case studies and well developed cocreative concepts out there…. these are just the ones that I find myself referring people to time and time again.
CoMConnect – a weekend-long event and project to develop Melbourne’s digital strategy. Through this cocreative process, the City of Melbourne “realised that one of the most important tasks is to find a way that the City and our community can continue to co-create in a way that is sustainable and responsive.” And that we need to “create a better way of working – In order to create the best strategy possible, we have to rethink the process by which strategies are developed.”
EcoCity Food Forum – a one day event following the same philosophy, this time around food. The Food Forum page has good content including a write-up of how the day went.
Also check out The Vermont Farm to Plate Network – a Collective Impact initiative to cocreate the future of the food system in Vermont, USA. This type of initiative is also emerging as we speak in Australia, by joining the dots between the City of Melbourne, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, the SA Plains the Plate network and a network of others around the country. I’m rapt to be involved with this on the SA end.
Our own CoCreate Adelaide follows a comparable model, but very different philosophy – focused not on collective action towards shared visions, but on building community to empower change agents to cocreate what they each care about themselves. (I prepared this version of the story for ‘method nerds’ in preparation for a conference presentation.)
The Berkana Institute’s Two Loops theory of systems transformation has been influential for Doing Something Good as well as for myself. It is a very accessible way of conceptualising collective action to transform systems – but it is nevertheless very deep and powerful when applied. (This plain text write-up is a good go to as well.)
Collective Impact is a well defined and proven methodology for stakeholders achieving lasting change by coordinating effort towards a shared vision. (See the ‘original’ SSIR article, this very thorough interview and write-up from Canada, or the most accessible and pragmatic resource I’ve found, Collective Impact Australia.)
What the Collective Impact method doesn’t provide is the open, participatory angle (the P2P or the B2C to go with the B2B, as Doug Taylor from United Way puts it) – which is exactly what practitioners like myself and David from Doing Something Good are working to develop, drawing on Two Loops theory and the methods listed below. (A group from the Art of Hosting network is also looking into it.)
Doing Something Good have written up this primer on unconference-style events which they have used to full effect with the City of Melbourne. This format is based on Open Space Technologies, drawing on a few other methods and concepts (like the Twin Loops model mentioned above).
The Art of Hosting is the core practice I draw on to guide process facilitation, and involves a richness philosophy with many other lessons as well. The Art includes methods that are very well known in their own right, including Open Space Technology, World Cafe and Appreciative Inquiry.
Much more than just a methodology, Theory U can “be understood in three primary ways: first as a framework; second, as a method for leading profound change; and third, as a way of being – connecting to the more authentic of higher aspects of our self.” It can be a little daunting, but definitely rewards investment.