by Prof. Lam Wai-Fung and Dr. Vivian H Y Chu, Centre for Civil Society and Governance,

The University of Hong Kong


Studying the governance of institutional arrangements for collective action, the literature on commoning and co-creation both build on the premise that local partnerships are important levers for change.  While research on commoning examines the ongoing process of the governance of commons and identifies principles of institutional design for robust governance of commons, research on co-creation focuses more specifically on a form of collaborative governance which facilitates bottom-up innovation.

In many parts of the world, different actors have engaged in co-creation to develop and implement green transition solutions.  The Centre for Civil Society and Governance at the University of Hong Kong has been invited to be a research partner in a collective effort to study co-creation projects from a global comparative perspective led by Roskilde University, called the GOGREEN project.  Alongside research partners from 28 countries, we have traced the impact of different governance factors on the co-creation process and its outputs and outcomes based on the analysis of policy documents, interviews, on-site observations and mini-surveys.

The Centre for Civil Society and Governance contributes a case study examining the co-creation process for the revitalization of Hong Kong’s Northeastern New Territories (NENT) spanning a ten-year period (2013-2023).  The most important governance factors for the co-creation process identified in this case were inclusion and empowerment, interdependence between the various stakeholders and facilitative leadership that was played by different representative figures.

In relation to the Centre’s research on co-creation, a seminar titled “Leadership and Governance for Co-creating Sustainable Solutions” was organized in March featuring Professor Rosemary O’Leary from University of Kansas, Professor Jacob Torfing and Professor Eva Sørensen, both lead researchers of the GOGREEN project from Roskilde University.


A seminar on “Leadership and Governance for Co-creating Sustainable Solutions” was held at The University of Hong Kong on 22nd March.


As the first speaker, Professor Torfing opened with the importance of robust governance for co-creation to address ‘super-wicked’ problems.  Professor Sørensen then shared her research on interactive leadership, arguing for the need to understand the influence of political culture on political leadership styles.  This is followed by Professor O’Leary’s presentation of her findings on why local government managers collaborate and the common personal attributes of those who do.

Professor Lam Wai-Fung, Director of Centre for Civil Society and Governance, moderated an inspiring panel discussion between the speakers and discussants.


Professor He Shenjing and Professor Andrew Wong, from the University of Hong Kong were inspired by the presentations and shared the challenges they have identified in governing co-creation initiatives and for government managers to work across organizational boundaries in the local context.  The case study of collaborative rural revitalization in Hong Kong was also discussed as an example of how some of these challenges could be overcome by different actors assuming leadership roles at different stages of the co-creation process.


Professor Rosemary O’Leary, Professor Jacob Torfing and Professor Eva Sørensen visited Lai Chi Wo village in Hong Kong which was heavily featured in the collaborative rural revitalisation case study in the GOGREEN project.