Co-creators to the rescue!

“In the last three years, this interaction has become even more intimate. Consumers are wielding greater influence earlier on in the product development process, and are now contributing their ideas even before a product hits the market.” – Carolyn Tang, Insight Magazine

Co-creators. The term sounds more like a new group of superheroes than anything else. Can their ‘super powers’ change social product development?

When we speak of co-creation, we are talking about opening up the product development process and collaborating with employees, partners and customers inside and co-creatorsoutside the traditional business walls. Co-creators are the active participants that help shape the product design and development process through their input and sharing of ideas for product enhancement. All stakeholders, whether they are customers, suppliers, contractors or employees work together to breakdown communication silos and eliminate barriers to productivity.

Co-creators willingly participate in the product design and development process

In his recent article, ‘Consumers Are Willing Co-Creators: More On The Intersection Of Social Media And Consumer Product Strategy,’ Doug Williams, of Forrester, highlights key findings from a study conducted on social co-creation and customer involvement:

• 61 % of US online adults were identified as “willing co-creators:” individuals who would actively provide their insight to organizations to enhance existing and new product development processes
• The majority of “willing co-creators” would consider participating in a co-creative event “regardless of the product, brand or service involved”
• In the 12 of the 17 industries that the study selected, over 50% of these “willing co-creators” expressed wanting to participate in co-creation engagements

These results clearly suggest that the notion of co-creation is well anchored in the marketplace and consumers are almost expecting organizations to recruit them as active co-creators of product development initiatives. Organizations should not ignore co-creation as a viable product design and development strategy.

Co-creators impact the bottom-line, in a BIG way

What are some of the advantages associated with incorporating a co-creative strategy into the product development process? In her article ‘3 Steps to Co-creation Success’, Carolyn Tang, of Insight Magazine, provides many examples of the bottom line impact. Co-creation she asserts:

• Provides a more direct method of capturing market insight, and reduces the need to invest in complex market research analysis tools.
• Speeds up the entire product development process and decreases overall costs associated with prototyping and production.
• Helps build relationships with stakeholders and allows you to deal with people in a more authentic way, which in turn reduces your cost of ongoing interaction.
• Reduces redundancies in product development and helps to develop and deliver new, customer-driven and innovative products to market.

We want to know: Has your organization identified co-creation as a viable social product development strategy? If you have, share your stories…and if you have not, tell us what the obstacles are…

Related blog posts:
Co-Creation and New Product Development
Customer-driven product development
Social innovation: Product development 2.0
Co-creative wisdom for modern enterprises
Product design and development at Facebook
Co-working and how it stimulates innovation

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