Our commitment to cocreation
Global Public Investment (GPI) is an ambitious, out-of-the-box and transformative approach to some of the most pressing problems international society confronts: from the pandemic to climate change. It has the goal of bringing about a major paradigm shift in how we raise international public finance. It has struck a chord of recognition amongst a growing group of donors, practitioners and academics. And it has the potential to inspire people and mobilise broad support.
But GPI cannot be given form by a group of experts alone, however influential and knowledgeable they are. It has to be done through a broader process of cocreation.
The term ‘co-creation’ has its origins in the business world, but it is starting to be taken up in the development and policy sector from which this recent definition is taken: Cocreation is an iterative, equitable process that removes barriers for all actors to meaningfully contribute their knowledge and skills to achieve sustainable and scalable solutions to bring positive social innovation into the world.
Of course, the core principles of cocreation have been fundamental to community development practice for decades. Back in 1970, Paolo Freire described a model of cocreating knowledge in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, where he wrote: “It is not our role to speak to the people about our own view of the world, nor to attempt to impose that view on them, but rather to dialogue with the people about their view and ours. We must realize that their view of the world, manifested variously in their action, reflects their situation in the world.”
For us, the idea of cocreation has seven core principles:
- Not a deficit model, but an asset one:
Cocreation is not about fixing what is wrong. It is rather about shifting the emphasis to identifying and working with the assets which people have – including economic assets, social networks, influence, innovation and knowledge.
GPI recognises the value and assets that all nations have to contribute to global challenges, and sees equal participation as the means by which this collective strength can be harnessed for the benefit of all.
- It is dialogical and it is a process:
Cocreation aims at creating an environment in which people can express themselves best; not having pre-conceived ideas about outcomes; not presenting an idea to “beneficiaries” for their endorsement; but it involves their participation at all stages.
The formation of the EWG as a representative group with on-going communication and reporting is a dialogue within the ongoing process of the cocreation of GPI.
- Stepping up and stepping back:
Commitment to cocreation requires a commitment to becoming conscious of power dynamics, which are often unconscious amongst those with relative power. Critical self-awareness and self-reflection is needed to bring groups of people who have historically been excluded, ignored or marginalised into the decision-making space.
The upcoming consultation on the GPI report will be as inclusive and representative as possible in order to ensure the GPI proposal is shaped by the people who it will affect most.
- Build an invested community of collaborators:
Cocreation aims to nurture a community of stakeholders who are supportive and feel ownership of a common solution, not simply a consortium of individuals. Therefore, the process allows the group greater agency over the cocreation process itself and the solutions developed, as well as space to develop emerging leaders.
The EWG is not only a group of experts providing technical input but a cohesive community of practitioners, academics and policy makers that have strong commitment to GPI.
- Break out from established roles and mindsets:
Cocreation encourages using different frames for conversation and collaboration, as well as unfamiliar processes and tools – all helping to restructure power dynamics and dialogue between typical asymmetries such as public-expert, user-designer, donor-beneficiary and North-South.
GPI calls for a levelling of hierarchy within the international order, and the cocreation of GPI must equally provide settings that reflect this power dynamic.
- Define the “what” and allow creativity around the “how”:
In cocreation, a vision is articulated, parameters are established, and success is envisioned, then the space is opened up for creative thinking around how this success is translated into reality with tangible outcomes. “Use cocreation tools as flexible scaffolding rather than fixed itinerary.”
The first phase of GPI has been the codesigning of its foundational principles and structure, and analysis of the problem at hand. This proposal will be refined through a wider consultation before opening up new forums for coproduction and implementation, where creative and innovative thinking will take place alongside testing and piloting.
- Affected people are key experts by experience:
Cocreation strives to honour the experiences and voices of less privileged and marginalised, particularly because these perspectives also represent a wealth of knowledge and understanding. Parallel to this, cocreation seeks to hold more powerful actors and voices accountable for the role of their politics, policies and resources in the problems/solutions at hand.
Inclusiveness and representation of key stakeholders will be fundamental in the coming phases of consultation and coproduction on GPI.
The concept of Global Public Investment has been cocreated through many meetings and deliberations over the last few years, both virtual and in-person, with all types of organisations all over the world. The forthcoming global consultation is the latest and most comprehensive example of the EWG’s commitment to cocreation.
Cocreation and Consultation for GPI