Noella Edelmann (University for Continuing Education Krems, Austria) will be presenting the paper “Sustainable digital co-creation in the public sector: establishing practices and measuring outcomes” written together with Trui Steen and Charlotte van Dijck (KU Leuven Public Governance Institute) at the conference Digitalization for sustainability transformations: Critical perspectives, lessons learned, and future prospects, held 20-22 September 2023, Augsburg (Germany).

At this conference, Noella will be talking about co-creation and digital sustainability in the public sector. While sustainability in the public sector reports can cover financial aspects, it can also be be used for management, strategic planning and organizational change, but also for compliance with standards and stakeholders’ requirements. To achieve this compliance, however, Public Sector Organisations (PSOs) need to understand what sustainability is, knowing who the users are, their needs and demands. We therefore aim to address the research gap noted in the literature on sustainability in the public sector, that is, how sustainability is understood in the public sector understood and what is its role in co-creation processes and outcomes. As the co-creation of public services is seen contributing to the development of sustainable digital processes in organisations and achieving sustainable outcomes, we also aim to consider what co-creation processes and sustainable outcomes are associated with the digitalization of co-creation in the public sector? In order to answer this research question, workshops with experts from academia, PSOs, and public administrations involved in 4 European pilots to discussed sustainability in the context of co-creation. The analysis of the data shows that the sustainability of co-creation of services involves identifying technology needs and gaps, support innovation, capacity-building, and dissemination. Ensuring the sustainability of co-creation requires organisational change regarding technical support arrangements, organisational processes and developing expertise. At the same time, the relationship between PSOs and stakeholders must be developed and sustained, and all stakeholders must engage in continuous learning. These results help to identify sustainable digital co-creation processes and granular indicators for measuring sustainable co-created outcomes.