Increasingly universities are adopting a collaborative approach to ensure research outcomes have industry-relevant impact. This collaboration has known challenges given the complexity of the process which requires successful negotiation across the needs of various stakeholders, disciplinary knowledges and cultural contexts. A co-creation approach in collaborative research can assist in navigating these challenges by empowering all stakeholders including industry, the academy and the community. This paper presents a case study of an industry engaged research project that employed this approach. Partnering with a northern European international airline and universities from Australia and Singapore, the project investigated opportunities for innovation around the ageing population’s user experience with in-flight packaging. Applying case study method, data collected included in-flight observations, expert interviews, co-creation workshops and prototyping. Challenges as well as opportunities are identified around how the co-creation approach supported the industry relevant outcomes of the project. The findings suggest that co-creation supports better outcomes for collaboration across the complexity of industry engaged cross-cultural research projects.