VIA helps Norwegian libraries co-create with citizens

VIA facilitates co-creation in Norway
VIA facilitates co-creation between Norwegian libraries and citizens
VIA has been selected to equip library employees with co-creational skills in Oppland County i Norway. Together with tree Norwegian counties, they represent four central consulting units and twelve local libraries that are ready to receive professional training on how to do co-creation. The two yearlong project has just begun, and the involved managers and employees in Norway are very pleased so far. 

Co-creation on the agenda in Norway

Four Norwegian counties (fylker) – Oppland, Buskerud, Finnmark and Rogaland – wants to improve their libraries’ abilities to develop services and solutions together with the surrounding society and local citizens. As in Denmark, Norway has a growing focus on how to co-operate and co-create with citizens and NGO’s for the purpose of improving society and welfare solutions and improving their sustainability. Manager of the Oppland regional library and one of the two initiators, Tone Nyseter says: “Also in Norway, we have to adapt to secure a sustainable welfare society in the future. We are convinced that the libraries can play a vital role in that process”.

 

According to Jens Ulrich, lecturer and PhD at VIA and one of the leading experts on co-creation in Denmark, it is evident that we can profit positively from co-creation in a wide range of areas, if public employees are offered the needed skills to lead the way in co-creational processes with civil employees and citizens. “There is an evidential link between strong, local communities and better mental health, stronger local democracy etc. Working on strengthening the local communities are vital in Norway, where distances between densely populated areas are big. This project aims at revitalizing the partaking libraries through a new DNA and skill-set that equips them to initialize local change with a positive impact on the local society. Co-creation is the obvious choice in my opinion”, he says.

Solid expertise and a compelling first encounter

VIA won the tender due to best level of experience, competence and a good first encounter with the Norwegian project managers. Øystein Stabell, local project manager, says: “In order for the project to succeed, we are dependent on having the most skilled people to provide us with the competences and we are sure that we have that [with VIA]”.
VIA has completed courses in co-creation and leadership in co-creational processes tailor-made for +400 staff, consultants and managers in the public sector in Denmark. The expertise and experience is profound and is solidly supported by VIA’s research department working strategically within the field of co-creation. “During the last 3-4 years, we have gained solid experience. Not only on co-creation in practice, but also on how to best succeed with our many stakeholders in the often complex organisational processes that are the vital part of co-creational change in any organisation and local community,” says Jens Ulrich.

The beginning of a paradigm shift for Norwegian libraries?

Jens Ulrich and his co-project manager Malene Bødker Leerberg, who will work as course- and workshop consultants throughout the project, are both very satisfied with the outcome of the initial phase: “The group of staff involved in the project in Norway is very pleased with our first two teaching sessions this Autumn. They are grasping the idea and potential of co-creation and they sense that they can play in vital part in renewing the DNA of the libraries and role in local communities. They are very enthusiastic and eager to learn, so we expect them to develop very interesting co-creational local projects as part of this process in the months to come.” 

 

Do you want to learn more? Please do not hesitate to contact lecturer Jens Ulrich on +45 5183 2489 or jeul@via.dk

Facts:

  • The project is funded through the Norwegian National Library
  • The staff involved have agreed to invest 20% of their working hours in the project
  • The four involved counties represent the widest possible demographic variety in Norway, which is expected to bring rich empirical knowledge-sharing into their sessions together