Co-creation of value happens when you work with someone else to produce something together that is valuable to both parties. Co-creation puts the customer in the driver’s seat of creating what they want. The reason that co-creation is important is that customers may know what they want, but they don’t have the skills to get there; experts may know how to create amazing results, but they need the customer to tell them exactly what they want. Examples of co-creation are:
- When a developer works with a department lead creating the piece of software that solves the department’s problems and makes money for the developer.
- A customer choosing all of the colours, textures, and design concepts while the designer assimilates all of the choices into the exact design that the customer wants.
The History of Co-Creation
Before we started thinking about co-creation, businesses and project leaders would simply create a product that they believed that the stakeholders needed. Unfortunately, it usually ended up being a reflection of what the project leader was able to accomplish, and not what the business required. Then we started to employ business analysts to help us be the bridge between the business unit and the people delivering the project. Most of the time, this would be the bridge between the business and I.T. departments. Having a bridge was better than before, but successfully delivering results that everyone liked depended on the negotiation skills of the business analyst. Because there are compromises and a balancing act required for every project, the business analyst was needed to manage expectations and communicate with all parties. The business departments and I.T. Departments still didn’t understand what the other found to be most important.
Now we move into the era of co-creation. The business analyst and project manager no longer stand in the middle of the stakeholder groups. Now business analysts facilitate the work that the departments do together. Co-creation puts the stakeholders in a room and says, “Based on the common constraints and joint knowledge, what solution can we come up with where everyone wins.” As a project manager, if you set up the environment where each group is equal (one doesn’t have greater power than another), then each group will look out for the other. When this happens, the groups will come together and create something amazing – that benefits everyone.
Co-creation is the act of working together to make something that we couldn’t produce on our own. Use the power of co-creation in your next project.