The following section sets out requirements – both substantive and procedural – necessary for the implementation of a co-creation exercise. Substantive requirements refer to issues such as motivation, shared goal, and the topic around which stakeholders mobilise, while procedural requirements address issues including appropriate facilitation, transparency, engaging modes of collaboration, and so on.
These are based on key findings from previous and ongoing EU and national engagement projects, relevant academic literature and material from interviews with RRI experts, co-creation practitioners, risk communication experts and societal engagement experts with respect to how to facilitate and pursue a co-creation process.

Substantative requirements

  • Being specific enough to affect the decisions of the actors
  • Selecting the right topic
  • Determining shared goal that drives collaboration between stakeholders
  • Building mutual trust between people and between organisations
  • Defining the level of participation
  • Defining what is at stake
  • Setting up a clear communication from the outset
  • Developing a shared language
  • Taking cultural differences into account
  • Setting up a clear expectation management

Nanotechnology is a broad and abstract concept, it is important to select specific applications and products. Its important to Include a diverse group of stakeholders, going beyond traditional networks. It is important to seek continuous dialogue and engagement with the public.

Procedural requirements

  • Using design thinking in order to get tangible results
  • Developing full transparency about the engagement process
  • Offering appropriate facilitation
  • Avoiding overly academic debates as important perspectives based on emotion rather than rational reasoning may be overlooked
  • Using stories and narratives to offer useful means of communicating with different aspects to different audiences
  • Taking the the ideal of “mutual learning” into account: the type, form and extent of information given to participants is highly relevant
  • Giving sufficient time in order to get to meaningful levels of engagement
  • Offering protected space, in which there is room for experimentation
  • Being flexibility in the development of the co-creation process and the opportunity to adapt the procedure
  • Interviewing following the period of collaboration could serve to document any changes in awareness, reflexivity or practice.
  • Countering the tendency to pursue meta-debates in the preparation and execution of the events


  • Thinking of specific objectives to be obtained
  • Measuring the impact of the events in relation to these objectives. These objectives can go beyond an assessment of risks and opportunities of nanotechnologies and nanoproducts. 
  • Focusing on how processes of co-creation can increase trust in science, and changes in the institutional culture of science and policy

One particularly important lesson foregrounds the importance of measuring the impact of the GoNano co-creation exercises in relation to specific objectives. GoNano should also examine and evaluate how processes of co-creation can serve to enhance trust in science, in addition to the forms of advice that can be taken up in research and policy.