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Preliminary survey results on innovation and the use of co-creation methods

Co-VAL > Blog > Resources > Preliminary survey results on innovation and the use of co-creation methods
innovation, co-creation, EU, survey, Co-VAL

The D2.7 Preliminary survey results report ‘provides the descriptive preliminary survey results of the main survey in Co-VAL’s WP2, on innovation and the use of co-creation methods, amongst public sector managers in municipalities and national government organizations. Six European countries participated in the survey, France, Hungary, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK. The countries cover a variety of conditions in terms of size, economic development and political structure.

The preliminary survey results on innovation and co-creation given in this report provide a guideline for further in-depth analysis using multivariate techniques and provide basic information on frequencies for all survey questions. In specific, they evaluate the distribution of responses to all survey questions by four characteristics of the responding unit:

  1. country
  2. focus area of the respondent’s organization (identified before the survey
  3. the size of the respondent’s work unit (four categories for the number of employees
  4. the type of organization in which the respondent is employed (national government, large municipality, or small municipality)

As Professor Anthony Arundel and Nordine Es-Sadki from UNU-MERIT explain, ‘the percentage of innovative work units varies by country from 56.5% in Hungary to 92.7% in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Other factors that affect innovation status include the focus area and the type of organization – percent innovators is highest in large municipalities at 88.2%’.

In addition, participation in work groups that meet regularly to discuss or develop innovation was found to have the strongest effect on innovation status, with 53.5% of non-innovative units reporting zero employees participating in work groups versus 3.2% of innovative units. Furthermore, organizational practices to support innovation are significantly more prevalent among innovative than non-innovative work units. For example, 50.9% of respondents from innovative units report that ‘senior management gives high priority to new ideas or new ways of working’, versus only 18.9% of respondents from non-innovative work units.

As for non-innovative units, the most frequently cited ‘high’ importance obstacle is a lack of knowledge on how to innovate (cited by 49.2%), followed by senior management concerns over risk (cited by 33.6%). On the other hand, the most frequently cited ‘high’ importance obstacles for innovative units are a lack of knowledge on how to innovate (cited by 19.6%) and a lack of support from politicians (cited by 17.3%).

Most of the questions focus on a single ‘most important innovation’ (MII) identified by the respondent.  A maximum of 787 respondents from innovative work units answered questions in this section of the questionnaire. In total, 15.6% of MIIs were in the pilot or testing stage, 54% were partially implemented with ongoing improvements underway, and 30.1% were completely implemented. In regards to novelty, 43.2% of the MIIs were improvements to previous services or processes, while 32.7% provided a new service or process and 24.1% a new service and process. The implementation stage is correlated with novelty, with completely implemented innovations more likely to be both a new service and a new process (29.2%).

Last but not least, in total, 46.5% of respondents reported that the MII had been evaluated after implementation. A higher share of services (51.3%) are evaluated than processes (41.0%). Most of the respondents that evaluated their MII (86.2%) had either made changes to improve user experience or expected to make changes in the future.

Below there is a summary of the key results:

  • In total, 85.2% of respondents reported the use of at least one of the five co-creation methods.
  • Co-creation is used more intensively when the innovation involves a service than for a process.
  • The prevalence results for the questions on the most important innovation, suggest that the respondent’s country has a larger effect on the results than the work unit size, organizational type, or focus area.
  • The intensity of use of co-creation also increases with the availability of resources.
  • Effects on internal innovation processes were rare, with only 6.5% and 9.4% of respondents reporting ‘high’ benefits from a reduction in development costs or time. Post implementation effects were more common, with 50.2% reporting ‘high’ benefits for improving fit with user needs and 47% reporting ‘high’ benefits from an improved quality.
  • Differences by the respondent’s country produce the largest number (or equal number) of statistically significant results than for the three other characteristics of the respondent’s unit.
  • The respondent’s country could be a major factor in the drivers, inputs, uses and outcomes of co-creation.

We must point out that the authors indicated that before conclusions can be drawn, further investigation is required using multivariate models that control for the effects of multiple factors.

You can find the D2.7 Preliminary survey results report here.