In co-creation, companies innovate smart technologies and services together with assisted living professionals and residents, especially those with personal experience of assisted living environments so that products and services would better correspond to users’ needs. Co-creation participants include assisted living facilities’ residents, their relatives, voluntary workers and staff, municipalities, companies and multidiscliplinary experts and students from the universities and UAS. Co-creation enables user-driven product and service development and hands-on feedback from the products and services’ end users. At the same time, it also improves the quality of the development work; hence, every co-creation event is unique. After co-creation, the company may continue product development, move on to testing process or commercialization or conclude that the product as such is not suitable for the field of social and health care. 

The users’ needs are in the focus of multidisciplinary co-development. New ideas, development ideas and best solutions are generated as a result of active and multi-voiced dialogue (Laudan 1996). The users of the product or service, experts and students of universities and UAS, innovative companies as well as third sector experts/operators/actors shall be involved. Co-creation can strengthen user and customer-centred development along with producer-centred activities (Harra & Lintula 2018).

Several co-creation processes were carried out in HIPPA project. On the basis of these, we have created a model for organising a co-creation process. The step-by-step process is illustrated above. To streamline the content and framework of co-creation, we have drafted forms for the management of the entire co-creation process. Our experience has shown that thorough preparation greatly contributes to a successful co-creation event.

Planning of co-creation and user trials shall only begin after the completion of a development plan. The co-creation facilitators shall together design the arrangements and carrying out of the event. The entrepreneur may also participate in planning. In the planning phase, the facilitators are advised to use the co-creation Planning Form, which helps to recognize and take into consideration all relevant elements for arranging the co-creation / user trial event in a structured manner.

In the preparatory phase of co-creation and user trials, the entrepreneur shall prepare a presentation of the product or service in question. If applicable, a non-disclosure agreement with the company is signed and privacy policy, briefing note and consent form are prepared. Facilitators recruit the participants, reserve the facilities and tools, and send invitations as well as the privacy policy, briefing note and consent form to the participants for their information.

In the co-creation event, all participants shall sign a consent form, which may also include permission for photography or other similar recording. User data may also be collected with the help of a participants list. All participants are treated as equal experts in the co-creation event. The entrepreneur shall present the product or service in question. Facilitators shall assure that all planned items are dealt with according to the established timetable and that every participant is heard. In the end, facilitators shall draw conclusions of the co-creation outcomes.

Facilitators shall draw up a report on co-creation and other members and students of the UAS and/or the municipality’s development team may assist in it. The report shall include description of the co-creation event and its results and recommendations for further action as regards, for example, testing, user tests or placing on the market and marketing.