Co-Creation: How Involved Are Your Customers?

Now that you have watched this video you are well aware of the four different groups of co-creation and I am going to go into a little bit more detail about how businesses have succeeded in all four groups.

1.  Crowd of People

This is also known as “Crowdsourcing”. Anyone can join this group because somewhere out there, there is a person who has a “brilliant” idea that deserves some consideration. One type of crowdsourcing is Kickstarter.  This is an example of how crowdsourcing went mainstream. The people out there with these “brilliant” ideas will put them on Kickstarter. They set a goal for themselves, for example $1,000 by  a certain date. If this person can gain enough backing from other people then Kickstarter will match the goal. This is “unleashing the power of the masses” because the funding is purely funded by the society and their approval of the idea. Be aware that many people fail. Following this blog: GeekDad, 9 out of 10 failed projects did not even reach 30% of their goal. When the masses speak they defiantly speak in volume.

The main benefit for businesses using this type of co-creation is that it is relatively cheaper than hiring a professional. Crowdsourcing is great when your employees are involved. It creates rich employee feedback and the employees get a sense of ownership and responsibility. They want to leave their legacy for the company. This also pertains to Kickstarter because the people backing the projects feel they are helping make someones dreams come true and  they are an integral part of the success of the project.

2. Community of Kindred Spirits

This is the most relevant type of group when it comes to developing something for the greater good. Groups of people with similar interests and goals can come together and create. This model works in software development and strengthens the potential force of a large group of people with complementary areas of expertise. An example of this type of co-creation is Linux. Linux is an open source operating system software. This was developed by users and for users. The software code is free to used and nobody owns it.

Coalition of Parties

This type of co-creation is for more complex situations. A coalition of parties team up to share ideas and investments. Each party brings a particular skill to the group. This is when the most technical breakthroughs often happen. The keys to success with this group is the sharing of knowledge and creating a common competitive advantage. A great example of this type of co-creation is Heineken.

Heineken recruited a virtual team of 19 young emerging designers from four different continents to develop a concept club of the future, which came to life in Milan 2012. The team had access to an online panel of 100 clubbers so they could stimulate ideas. The team was encouraged to build off each other’s personal experiences and they went on a world tour of clubs.

Club of Experts

This is best suitable for a very specific, time-pressured challenges that demand expertise and breakthrough ideas. The contributors have to meet a certain set of criteria and have to go through a very select process. The quality of input and the chemistry between the expertise are the keys to success. The people need to be out of the box thinkers. An example of this type of co-creation is Nokia.  They organize “lead user” and “expert” co-creation sessions to develop new products and services. Fronteer Strategy are a partner of Nokia in these projects, where bold new steps have been designed.

As the first video stated there are 5 guiding principles in co-creation.

Inspire Participation

You want to trigger people to join in your challenge. Be open and make sure your consumers know what’s in it for them. Most people want to contribute because they care about the products, brands, and companies around them but you have to “trigger” the needs for them to want to participate. By inspiring participation you are going to have product improvement and your sales will raise.

Select The Very Best

You need the best ides and the best people to deal with today’s complex issues. The selection process is very crucial because you want the best ideas to surface and survive. Team chemistry is also very essential and diversity is key. If you have a well-balanced mix of gender, nationalities, professions and interests than these great minds will produce the best results for your company.

Connect Creative Minds

Synchronicity within a structured, constructive dialogue is what you need. Make sure you are listening, being receptive, and being interested in what the people have to say. You want to unlock the potential that this group has and make sure to take everyone and their ides seriously. Be open to criticism about your product and help create common ground between the contributors.  By creating  common ground people will feel more comfortable with sharing information, ideas, experiences, dreams, strategies, successes, and failures in order to get the “creative juices” flowing.

Share Results

Make sure there is something in it for the contributors.  This compensation can be monetary but less tangible rewards can be greater. Examples of this would be recognizing “key” contributors or asking them to join more initiatives. Make sure to also keep the participants informed of progress and developments. You want to keep them loyal and if you  ignore their wishes than you will be damaging the ability to attract more participants and ultimately damaging your company.

Continue Development

Co-creation only delivers when it is a longer-term engagement, preferably part of a structured process that involves parties in and outside your company. This can defiantly be the hardest part of co-creation. You are never done improving your products because there is always room for involvement and nothing is ever “perfect.” Also by continually developing you are constantly building loyalty and strengthening your brand image with the consumers.

 All in all co-creation can create value to the initiator in many shapes and forms: products can be added to a roadmap, new ventures can be started, a technical problem can be solved, teams invigorated,
insights fine-tuned and applied. It is a wonderful source of ideas and brainstorming that involves strengthening the relationship of your consumer. Make sure you are participating in this concept in one way or another.