Co-creation means to have different parties (companies, organizations, communities, a group of people who share the common interests, etc.) be involved in a design/development/production process. It is popular nowadays because researches show that when customers are more involved in the design/development/production process directly, they are more likely to purchase the products.
Crowdsourcing, a modern business term, means that a process of obtaining an idea or a solution to a problem is contributed by a large group of people, typically an online community. There are two steps for crowdsourcing: contribution and selection. Different levels of contribution and selection form different types of crowdsourcing:
Co-designing, is low customer-controlled in contribution activity, but customer-led in selection. For example, when a company ask customers to vote for samples of future products, it is using co-designing.
Submitting, is also low customer-controlled in contribution activity, and firm-led in selection. It is typically a competition, a company make the rules for a competition and select the winner.
Collaborating, is high customer-controlled in contribution activity, and customer-led in selection. Companies propose a task or problem in an online community and people in the community can work together to complete the task or give solutions to the problem.
Tinkering, is high customer-controlled in contribution activity and firm-led in selection. For instance, a company assign a certain product type and people can design this product freely.
There are many examples of co-creation. A company in Chicago that sells T-shirts, called Threadless, has no single designer for their products. Developing a new product totally depends on people who post their designs on the company’s website and the design get most votes.
Another company called Local Motors, adopted the co-creation approach (had people in an online community design and vote for a new car product) and created a strange-looking but very innovative car: Rally Fighter.
By the way, they also created the first 3D printed car in the world:
Starbucks, also make good use of co-creation approach to collect new product/experience/involvement ideas online and actually applied some of the great ideas. I also contributed my own idea and you can vote or leave comments for it if you want: #Starbucks Taste Test Challenge
Lego also has the similar way to collect fabulous designs.
Muji, a Japanese company that sells minimalist home products, just announced a plan of seeking a volunteer/family/group of friends to live in a brand new and fully-furnished Window House for free for two years in order to have a close look and record for the living experience from the volunteer.
What do you think about all these examples? Do you have other examples of co-creation in your mind? What types of crowdsourcing (co-designing, submitting, collaborating, tinkering) do you think they used? Leave a comment here and share your thoughts with me!
From my perspective, co-creation is a good way to have customers interact with the company and interaction is a very important way for the company to seek customers’ needs and wants as well.
There are two incentives to motivate contributors engage in co-creation: social recognition and financial rewards. Also, remember that customers are not the only party who brings value to your company. These contributors may not necessarily be your customers, but they can also bring tremendous value and inspiration to grow your business.
Lastly, I’d like to give credits to the Digital Marketing Specialization Course that I am taking at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for delivering the concepts of co-creation and crowdsourcing. Great content of this course so far, and hopefully I will get my certificates in 6 months.
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