8 Responses

  1. Anna Peters
    Anna Peters at |

    For a timeline of all the crowdsourcing projects since the beginning of time (well, since 2006) check this out:


    An interesting commentary that demonstrates how the cult of the 1%ers came into existence in the mid-2000s, and has been growing steadily ever since.

    …It would be interesting to overlay co-creation 1.0 and 3.0 onto this timeline to see if how my analysis in this blog post
    plays out.


  2. Jeff Freedman
    Jeff Freedman at |

    Appreciate this topic – it’s a line of inquiry that needs to be better understood. And it’s a question I struggle with today.

    We all have what could be called ‘latent creativity.’ An over emphasis on rational thinking and logic has limited our spontaneity and resourcefulness. Most of us have developed habits of mind that prevent creative thinking.

    This ‘wasted potential’ is a fair assessment – I’ve seen it happen too many times. That said, I place responsibility on the facilitators of co-creation. It is their role to create the spaces, experiences and dialogue that can provide people who may not know their creative ‘skill’ the ability to contribute significant value.

    Using expressive arts techniques (e.g. role play, word play) is one way to tap into the creativity that lies within us all. Perhaps we will find better ways to learn from the individual and collective genius.

    And no more wasted potential!

    1. Anna Peters
      Anna Peters at |

      Yes Jeff! facilitation is absolutely key and understanding who has what skills can never compensate for poor facilitation skills.

      For me it’s a case of applying strong facilitation of all those brilliant techniques you mention (expressive arts, etc) to unlock skills, then IN CONJUNCTION with understanding when in the process to use those skills you’ve unlocked.

      I’ll give you an example:

      A creative consumer is brilliant at coming up with divergent ideas, and really pushing brands to think differently about their product.

      However, when it comes to how exactly the brand should execute this innovation, the creative thinker may not be best placed to help in this process.

      Instead a consumer who has a critical eye and isn’t afraid to challenge and build on other people’s ideas may be better placed at this point in the process.

      So: YES to strong facilitation to unlock consumer’s different skill sets, BUT to make the strong facilitation even more powerful we facilitators also need to know how and when to apply these different skill sets to the process of co-creation.

  3. Robert Homberger
    Robert Homberger at |

    Nice summary of the evolution of co-creation. However, I would argue that it’s not just about a “brand challenge” as stated at the end of the article. Co-creation can be used to solve wider business problems and also assist in shaping the future offer by identifying current problems that consumers have with products and services. Co-creation, whether applied in creative workshop sessions or in online communities, is often just one stage of a bigger project that starts with the problem identification and an insights exploration. Once the problem/challenge is stated you can move into the co-creation stage. If you have a good and honest relationship with your client you should always be able to ask them about the purpose of the project and the background to the stated challenge. By defining the real problem and writing a creative brief that your “skilled consumers” understand, you have set the foundation for a successful co-creation process. Even if you (addressing all clients here) think that consumers are not really engaged with your brand and that co-creation is not for you, I can tell you from experience that when your agency sets up an engaging process and recruits skilled creative consumers, you can even create great new ideas for less exciting products like nasal sprays.
    Robert Homberger, TLE (The Leading Edge) Sydney

    1. Anna Peters
      Anna Peters at |

      Hi Robert, thanks for your comment – and actually you are completely right…co-creation shouldn’t just be limited to brand challenges. Currently that is where it is most prevalent – but the applications go far beyond that.

      i’m note sure if you can think of any more examples, but a few off the top of my head are:

      1. redesigning & reshaping the way that the public interact in their local communities. And a really great example of this in action is something that a friend & co-creator Tom Hoy has been doing at Lambeth council

      (here’s a little summary of Tom + Lambeth council’s work: http://brightyoungminds.net/news-article/lambeths-own-co-creation/)

      2. The other way that will be really exciting for co-creation to be used is structurally in organisations. I get the sense that employees are getting a little jaded with the 9-5 and the typical career trajectory. And I see amongst my peers a strong movement to networked careers and a preference for organisations that are structured very differently from today. I think that in the future we’ll see organisations using co-creation as a way out of the silos that exist the manufacturing based monday – friday, clock-in and clock out model.

      (I wrote something a little while ago around this topic, not exactly related but it might spark a few ideas with you…./2012/01/26/from-insight-to-foresight-in-2012/)

      So thanks again for raising your point – I agree with you that the applications of co-creation (beyond brand and product innovations) is a fascinating topic: if we can apply the co-creative approach the way that we do business and the way that organisations are structured then just imagine the possibilities.

      The world could look incredibly different….

  4. Dave Lucas
    Dave Lucas at |

    Co-creation is becoming more valuable as people are using skype and cloud-computing techniques to share project ideas. It is a godsend for analysts, reporters and others who may be short on expertise in certain areas. Co-creation is a tool I believe we will see more of in the months to come. Great article!

  5. Kees
    Kees at |

    Cocreation is hot and sexy. But not all that glitters is gold. I have 4 questions: at a DEEPER level, how is it different to regular qualitative research? Does it lead to BETTER outcomes? If so HOW does it achieve these/through which mechanism? What does it believe ordinary people are capable of?

    1. Anna Peters
      Anna Peters at |

      Let me have a crack at answering your questions.

      Q: How is it different to normal qual?

      A: Regular qual tries to counter bias, co-creation embraces & makes the most of bias: normal qual is based on the principles of research, and this means that we put participants into various unnatural situations – and of course this leads to various biases. The research solution is to acknowledge these biases but the co-creative approach goes one step further and actually uses this bias to develop deeper insights (…it’s all based on principles of gestalt psychology & group therapy and I have written a more in-depth article on it here – /2012/03/07/my-bias-is-bigger-than-your-bias/ )

      Q: Does it lead to better outcomes?

      A: yes, and it does this in 2 ways: Firstly, it leads to better insight & ideas – in one project for a large FMCG company we tested (via standardised quant methodology) the co-created insights against insights developed in the traditional way. The co-created insights performed 82% better. Secondly, it makes the process much more fun and interesting for the clients – Jonathan Gadd (VP@Publicis) said the co-creative approach not only created better insights and ideas, but it was also “refreshing.” And it’s this ‘refreshment’ that leads to greater organisational buy-in, and ultimately more commitment to the final execution of these insights & ideas.

      Q: How does it do this?

      A: It does this by democratising the process; brands and services aren’t owned by brand managers or CEOs – they are owned by the people that use them! With this in mind, it is crazy to use a paradigm (i.e. the traditional research paradigm) that doesn’t allow so-called ‘ordinary people’ to have a fair say in the future of THEIR products and services.

      Q: what does it believe ordinary people are capable of?

      A: Co-creation believes ALL people [nb: I am not using the term ‘ordinary people’] are capable of affecting real and visible change. There are various schools of thought here (as discussed in the article: 1st gen co-creation versus 2nd generation co-creation, versus 3rd gen co-creation) and I’m a proponent of 3rd generation, i.e. the belief that different people have different skills and that you see powerful change when you acknowledge this difference. It’s important to allow all people to shine at what they are good at…and I agree with Jeff in his above comment to this article: “I place responsibility on the facilitators of co-creation”


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