Interaction practices for knowledge co-production at different levels of (eco)systems.

Katri Valkokari, Asta Salmi, Anna Leinonen, Iqra Khan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsScientific


Ecosystems are seen as a means to solve systemic challenges such as the sustainability transition. The co-production of knowledge by a variety of stakeholders is also cited as a driver of transformative processes. However, there is little empirical evidence and longitudinal studies of knowledge co-production practices and processes within ecosystems. In this study, we examine knowledge co-production processes as a means for systemic transitions in three large research projects, all of which actively interact with multiple stakeholders. These projects belong to the research program IMPRES, funded by the Strategic Research Council, and focus on ecosystems built around textiles, plastics and bio-based colours. We aim to explore how ecosystem participants align a variety of knowledge interests at different scales, from regional to global, to co-produce knowledge that enables transitions to sustainability. Furthermore, we address the issue of crossing existing industrial and sectoral boundaries when aiming for systemic change. Actionable knowledge is about processing and packaging knowledge into formats that can be acted upon to solve practical problems. For systemic challenges, actionable knowledge has different impacts to facilitate change from minor improvements at the current ecosystems to shaping future ecosystems. Therefore, our analyses is based on three dimensions of strategic knowledge (Zack, 1999), i.e., core, advanced, or innovative knowledge. Core knowledge is widespread among current ecosystem players and industrial actors typically have formal practices to protect this knowledge through intellectual property rights (IPR). Thus, knowledge co-production may be limited.
Advanced knowledge enables actors to differentiate themselves and is usually based on intangible assets. Knowledge co-production requires interaction between actors. Innovative knowledge supports actors to change the rules of the game: it is knowledge that enables transitions. Consequently, co-production processes of such future-oriented knowledge are informal. This paper discusses the challenges and practices for knowledge coproduction experienced by the researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability Science Days, May 23-26, 2023
Subtitle of host publicationBook of Abstracts
PublisherAalto University
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023
EventSustainability Science Days 2023: Pathways of Hope - Knowledge, actions, solutions - University of Helsinki City Centre Campus, Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 23 May 202326 May 2023


ConferenceSustainability Science Days 2023
Abbreviated titleSSD 2023
Internet address


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