How can we promote co-creation in communities? The perspective of health promoting professionals in four European countries

Emily Darlington, Gemma Pearce, Julien Masson, Teresa Vilaca, Sandie Bernard, Zelia Ferreira Cacador Anastacio, Paul Magee, Frants Christensen, Henriette Hansen, Graca Carvalho

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The aim was to identify the competencies professionals need to promote co-creation engagement within communities.

Co-creation could contribute to building community capacity to promote health. Professional development is key to support co-creative practices. Participants were professionals in a position to promote co-creation processes in health-promoting welfare settings across Denmark, Portugal, France and United Kingdom. An overarching unstructured topic guide was used within interviews, focus groups, questionnaires and creative activities.

The need to develop competencies to promote co-creation was high across all countries. Creating a common understanding of co-creation and the processes involved to increase inclusivity, engagement and shared understanding was also necessary. Competencies included: How to run co-creation from the beginning of the process right through to evaluation, using feedback and communication throughout using an open action-oriented approach; initiating a perspective change and committing to the transformation of co-creation into a real-life process.

Practical implications
Overall, learning about underlying principles, process initiation, implementation and facilitation of co-creation were areas identified to be included within a co-creation training programme. This can be applied through the framework of enabling change, advocating for co-creative processes, mediating through partnership, communication, leadership, assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation and research, ethical values and knowledge of co-creative processes.

This study provides novel findings on the competencies needed for health promoting professionals to embed co-creative processes within their practice, and the key concerns that professionals with a position to mediate co-creation have in transferring the abstract term of co-creation into a real-world practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-423
Number of pages22
JournalHealth Education
Issue number4
Early online date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


This study was undertaken within an Erasmus+ co-creation project in welfare sectors (EC project number: 2016-1-DK01-KA202-022342). However, funding for this research was not specifically included in the project.


  • Co-creation
  • Community development
  • Competence
  • Health promotion
  • Professionals
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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