Achieving research impact through co-creation in community-based health services: Literature review and case study

Greenhalgh, Trisha, Jackson, Claire, Shaw, Sara and Janamian, Tina (2016) Achieving research impact through co-creation in community-based health services: Literature review and case study. Milbank Quarterly, 94 2: 392-429. doi:10.1111/1468-0009.12197

Author Greenhalgh, Trisha
Jackson, Claire
Shaw, Sara
Janamian, Tina
Title Achieving research impact through co-creation in community-based health services: Literature review and case study
Journal name Milbank Quarterly   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0887-378X
Publication date 2016-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1468-0009.12197
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 94
Issue 2
Start page 392
End page 429
Total pages 38
Place of publication Hoboken, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Co-creation—collaborative knowledge generation by academics working alongside other stakeholders—reflects a “Mode 2” relationship (knowledge production rather than knowledge translation) between universities and society. Co-creation is widely believed to increase research impact.


We undertook a narrative review of different models of co-creation relevant to community-based health services. We contrasted their diverse disciplinary roots and highlighted their common philosophical assumptions, principles of success, and explanations for failures. We applied these to an empirical case study of a community-based research-service partnership led by the Centre of Research Excellence in Quality and Safety in Integrated Primary-Secondary Care at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Co-creation emerged independently in several fields, including business studies (“value co-creation”), design science (“experience-based co-design”), computer science (“technology co-design”), and community development (“participatory research”). These diverse models share some common features, which were also evident in the case study. Key success principles included (1) a systems perspective (assuming emergence, local adaptation, and nonlinearity); (2) the framing of research as a creative enterprise with human experience at its core; and (3) an emphasis on process (the framing of the program, the nature of relationships, and governance and facilitation arrangements, especially the style of leadership and how conflict is managed). In both the literature review and the case study, co-creation “failures” could often be tracked back to abandoning (or never adopting) these principles. All co-creation models made strong claims for significant and sustainable societal impacts as a result of the adaptive and developmental research process; these were illustrated in the case study.

Co-creation models have high potential for societal impact but depend critically on key success principles. To capture the nonlinear chains of causation in the co-creation pathway, impact metrics must reflect the dynamic nature and complex interdependencies of health research systems and address processes as well as outcomes.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Discipline of General Practice Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 22 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 18 Apr 2016, 21:54:46 EST by Tina Janamian on behalf of Discipline of General Practice