In a heavily networked world, companies are having the need to involve people outside their organization in an effort to fuel the coming of age market trend: value co-creation. It has the potential to bring innovative ideas faster and in a more cost-effective way.
So what is “Co-Creation”?
Now in the term co-creation there is the “co” and the “creation”. The “co” is the group of people and the “creation” is the product of human intelligence or his imagination. Combining the two words “CO-CREATION” would mean group of people collaborating and creating a product using their ideas. I like to call it “connecting people’s brains.”
In terms of a business it is the consumer who partners in the creation of value for the organisation through various modes of interactions with individuals, including employees, customers or any stakeholder via certain platforms like meetings, stores or even a web-site. In short, “the idea of co-creation is to use the creativity of these people, such that it transforms both their individual experience and the economics of the organisation that enabled it.”
Now you might think….What’s in it for me?
When you provide the consumer a platform on which he or she can create along with you and give constant feedbacks on improvement, then you empower them and gain their loyalty and reap dual benefits for both parties. i.e.
- More the brains from outside your business, more the ideas……. and that too without hiring a new team. Which means you save costs.
- Then, with consistent flow of ideas and feedbacks you can, not only create a product or service as close to the customer’s needs as possible. You make it easier for him to choose your product………….. Now, this is what I call creating an emotional connect between the customer and your product.
- The next phase is the development phase once you have brain stormed and collected all the ideas, you can create the product faster and better………….it’s called being ahead in the market.
- I know, doing business means making financial sense out of what you do in it and reduce marketing and production costs. So the cool thing is, co-creation ensures that the company does not lose out its creative and innovative edge even when budget freezes are announced for marketing and product development activities…. In short, you have an audience who is now your new 5 star marketing group.
OK, so by now you are partly convinced with me….But your brain is asking …… “ WHAT IF?”
Every new strategy has a few challenges and so does co-creation. Many companies still lack behind in this development and fail to involve customers in their innovation decision.
The challenges that might withhold them are:
The mindset of the traditional management: It is important to change the traditional managers’ mindset. It is clear that open innovation and co-creation require a diminished focus on control, planning and forecasting. This is a big challenge as it provokes considerable resistance from managers who believe in the traditional approaches.
Too much inputs and too little structure: Co-creation can generate varied concepts and surprising outcomes during the co-creation process. However, too much inputs and too little structure will lead to chaos and noise. For effective value creation it is therefore useful to develop some clear procedures.
Consumers can ‘make or break’ a brand: Consumers can make the brand and product value through co-creation practices. However, the same consumers can become dissatisfied and their actions might turn into protest to break the brand.
SO the big question……… H ow do you embrace co-creation?
When you consider your clients as ‘stakeholders’ of your brand, you have the advantage to create a better product by taking their inputs and feedbacks and by also involving them in the product design and production process. In order to transition smoothly into being a co-creative enterprise, firms need to fine tune their internal processes in such a way that they are able to listen carefully to their clients, analyse effectively inputs, collect feedbacks and sell experience to generate brand loyalty and revenues.It is not only about co-creating experiences or new products with users but also about co-improving co-creation and accelerating the learning process and boosting the effectiveness and efficiency of future co-creation projects.