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This report from the CRETHINK project evaluates the impact of the CRETHINK initiative and offers recommendations for actors from the public sector or civil society aiming at developing sustainable solutions through co-creation. The project ‘CRETHINK - Co-creative RETHINKing for sustainable cities’ comprises partners from Denmark, Iceland, Slovenia and Italy working to promote sustainable practices through co-creation methodologies through a local case in each country. The four local cases consist of:

  • Reducing general waste in Hveragerði, Iceland • Co-creating a new pedestrian area with students in Palermo, Italy

  • Kick-starting a green journey for retail in the city of Vejle, Denmark

  •  Protecting urban trees in the town of Novo Mesto, Slovenia 


The ‘state of the art’ section of the report introduces the concept of democratic co-creation defining it as ‘the ambition of involving and giving influence to a range of different actors, including citizens, in working with complex societal challenges’.


The evaluation of the CRETHINK project is based on semi-structured qualitative interviews with representatives from all four partner organisations as well as 23 change agents and other stakeholders. It adopts a holistic and long-term evaluation perspective, measuring the impact of CRETHINK in terms of ‘public value’, i.e. innovation and learning, democratic empowerment and building new bonds and relations between actors from different sectors.

The project has spurred innovation and learning both at the organisational and individual level, as actors have developed new organisational ways of working by adopting the co-creation mindset and approach of CRETHINK, applying the methods and practices in other contexts. Also, the initiatives are seen as stimulating the engagement and participation of groups of citizens, thus contributing to democratic empowerment and the development of citizen skills. Furthermore, the value of the initiatives in terms of building new bonds and networks between participants from different sectors and perspectives is underlined, particularly with respect to enabling collaboration between the public sector, civil society- and the business-sector. The initiatives have not within the project period succeeded in fully unfolding their potential in terms of sustainability value. None the less, they have all contributed with small steps towards the sustainability ambition.
The report, finally, offers a list of recommendations for practitioners as well as policy recommendations.

Click the pdf to read the final report

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