As you know, the term of co-creation was popularized by scholars C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy in their book “The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value With Customers” published in 2004. We have all heard about the wisdom of crowds, bringing the outside in. And a large majority of people supposes they are in favor of co-creation. However, what is co-creation, really, and how do we accomplish it properly? Now let’s think about co-creation.
Co-creation involves organizations, entrepreneurs, creators, experts and people coming together people to create new products, services and solutions. In co-creation, the participants – including customers, providers and the general audience – are made aware that they are contributing towards the growth of ideas. Through a series of steps, creators are invited to contribute, evaluate, and refine ideas and concepts. Companies reap a benefit from the contributions of community members, while contributors show their insights and creativity and get rewarded in terms of recognition or honor.
Co-creation involves organizations [and] people coming together people to create new products, services and solutions
From a business point of view, sluggish growth in the economy and high rates of unemployment have led companies to search for ways to remain competitive and seek new growth opportunities. Many industry leaders, such as C-suite executives, now focus on co-creation. Co-creating products or services together with entrepreneurs and consumers could allow them to detect market failures quicker and seek creative ways to address them, placing themselves ahead of the curve.
In my experience as a communication designer, I can tell you that co-creation works best when we build a strong community. And I think we should forget everything we know about recruiting people for research, because researchers look for people in the middle of the typical user bell curve or at the bottom of the participation pyramid – there is little logic to co-create. Let’s change our way to thinking. Don’t criticize stupid-sounding ideas. They are often attempts to solve an intelligently-defined problem.
Have you used co-creation at your company? If so, I’d love to hear from your experience. Although, I have to say co-creation is still in an early phase. What needs to take place in the next phase is to give visibility to this innovative movement. We have to identify pioneers in co-creation worldwide and involved in it.
To learn more about co-creation and how to apply it to your company, you should join eYeka’s most thriving co-creation platform. Co-creation is a collaborative initiative that can be operationalized with crowdsourcing by seeking ideas from a group of creative people. If not identical, co-creation and crowdsourcing are conceptually close and are in complementary. With eYeka, your company can automate and track some processes while still getting creative ideas. I’m sure you may have a best co-creation there.
Note: Check out the latest co-creation book The Co-Creation Paradigm (Ramaswamy & Ozcan, 2014) which just came out at Stanford University Press.