Co-creation–child, sibling or adopted cousin of open innovation?

Anja Tekic, Kelvin Willoughby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


As the concept of co-creation has evolved in the innovation management literature its meaning has become ambiguous and the boundaries between it and the concept of open innovation have become opaque. The purpose of this paper is to more clearly define the concept of co-creation and to articulate how it differs from and relates to the concept of open innovation. Scholars are divided as to whether co-creation is a subsidiary concept of open innovation, a surrogate concept that is essentially indistinguishable from open innovation, or a separate concept that developed independently but was subsequently intermingled and interfused with open innovation. This paper addresses this scholarly confusion by conducting a systematic two-stage review of the innovation management literature, commencing with of a ‘broad brush’ bibliometric analysis, focused on the origins and evolution of co-creation and open innovation, followed by a ‘deep dive’ literature review in which the two concepts were rigorously compared. By proposing a cogent definition and taxonomy of co-creation, and thereby distinguishing it from open innovation, the paper goes beyond the current state of the literature and provides a more robust basis for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-297
Number of pages24
JournalInnovation: Organization and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • Co-creation
  • collaborative innovation
  • innovation management
  • open innovation


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