Co-Create: Creative student innovation

Published: 22 March 2024

Text: Anne-Marie Korseberg Stokke

Photo: Angelique Culvin

The coffee tables are made of pallets, and there are an above-average number of post-it notes in circulation when a group of students is gathered at Oslo Science Park for some "design thinking". Co-Create is a joint initiative by and for colleges and universities in the Oslo area where students are encouraged to solve real world problems through entrepreneurship and startups.

Two groups of students have allocated time each day over a week to work together in a "design thinking" workshop within two separate themes. The morning group's theme is "Calm Tech Futures," a direction within user-centered design that looks at how technology can be used to improve our lives without stealing our attention.

"The students have already developed a user, a so-called "persona," with a problem, and they are now working on solutions to this problem. Among them we find a "doom-scroller" who doesn't spend enough time with their partner, one struggling with phone addiction and another who wants to improve their posture and drink enough water," says Arnar Reiten.

Reiten studies entrepreneurship at the University of Oslo (UiO) and has been involved in developing the Co-Create concept, inspired by the "Launch Box" at Trinity College in Dublin.


Co-Create is a 1-year student innovation programme that is all about helping students turn big ideas into real solutions for real-world problems. The programme is available to students at the University of Oslo (UiO), BI, OsloMet, Kristiania and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU).

Read more about Co-Create here

"We want the program to be a combination of input and working and testing solutions ourselves," says Joseph Makokha, a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Informatics at UiO and an expert in Design Thinking. Student Arnar Reiten (on the right) is involved in organizing Co-Create.

Activity throughout the year

"We want the program to be a combination of input and working and testing solutions ourselves," says Joseph Makokha, a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Informatics at UiO, an expert in Design Thinking and one of the workshop instructors.

After the first workshop with teamwork and guidance from experienced instructors, students can participate in a "dark horse event." There, old ideas can be brought forward to see if there is still some gold there. Throughout the year, the students can attend free dinners featuring lectures from entrepreneurs at Startuplab, demo days, and pitch nights. During the summer, some of the teams will have the opportunity to continue working on their idea with funding from Innovation Norway, UiO Growth House, and the Student Entrepreneurship Fund.

Collaboration across disciplines

UiO Growth House, in collaboration with OsloMet, BI, Kristiania, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and the Student Entrepreneurship Fund in Oslo, is behind the initiative. Participants in the program are both students with and without backgrounds in entrepreneurship, in fields such as mathematics, medicine, philosophy, and social sciences.

"One of the Growth House's main goals is to strengthen the culture of innovation at UiO. We believe starting with students is wise to ensure they obtain the innovation mindset and entrepreneurship early on. They can take this with them in further studies and careers, whether inside or outside academia," says senior innovation advisor Nicolay Bérard-Andersen, who initiated Co-Create.

"We would like the UiO premises here at Oslo Science Park to be a hub for student innovation - a place where they can come to gather inspiration," says Nicolay Bérard-Andersen at UiO Veksthuset for value creation.