Last but not least: the final part of eYeka’s interview of Professor Venkat Ramaswamy, fellow at The Palladium Group, professor of marketing and co-author of The Future of Competition and The Power of Co-Creation. Previously, Prof. Ramaswamy explained how co-creation differs from crowdsourcing and open innovation, how co-creation is valuable for both companies and consumers and what must be taken into consideration to implement a successful co-creation initiative. This week, we questioned Prof. Ramaswamy about a company which doesn’t seem to be co-creative at a first glance, but whose value creation strategy is actually deeply inspired by the co-creation principle: Apple.
eYeka: Apple’s success is often quoted as a proof that top-down innovation is still the best way to deliver breakthrough innovation. What would you respond to that?
Prof. Ramaswamy: If you take the definition of co-creation as I have discussed, then we can see that Apple has actually engaged in a process of co-creation with developers by opening up the very same software development kit it used internally, to encourage legions of small and large developers to build their own applications. In other words, what Apple has done is actually build a co-creation platform to engage developers. They also try to pay attention to developers’ experiences of using the platform, while balancing that against Apple’s own strategic intent.
Another area is the physical Apple Store, which they view more as a platform to engage consumers than the typical retail environment. Could both these environments be made more co-creative? Yes, of course. Apple is constantly re-designing these environments to generate new types of experiences. While they may not be overtly engaging consumers in generating insights, they do pay attention to what people are saying in their thriving online community platform for example, which they recently re-designed as well.
Apple’s product-service offerings also exhibit co-creation platform thinking. So, in Apple’s case, to the extent that Apple designers are like Tom Hanks in « Big”, simultaneously imagining new frontiers of experience innovation, while their competitors are not, it is indeed a powerful way of delivering breakthrough innovation, and using selective co-creation with developers and partners and the consumer community at large, to refine offerings, if not define them. We discuss the case of Apple in more depth in the new book The Power of Co-Creation.
Ultimately, if we take the broader view of co-creation, as I have discussed, then there are many opportunities to leverage co-creation in innovation, strategy, marketing, human resources, and any value chain activity on the one hand, and with partnerships (including public-social sector enterprises) which we didn’t get into, on the other, and even imagine enterprise offerings as co-creation platforms.
eYeka would like to thank The Palladium Group Asia-Pacific for making this interview happen. Prof. Ramaswamy is a Fellow of The Palladium Group Asia-Pacific. You can read the previous partof the interview by clicking on the following links:
- How does co-creation relate to crowdsourcing?
- Challenges and value of co-creation
- Co-creators and errors to be avoided