Ever heard of Co-Creation?
Businesses are continually innovating. Or, at least they try to or believe they are. So, how do they ensure they're actually innovating - doing something different and breaking away from their status quo? They look outside the company and collaborate with other businesses and individuals to get new ideas and different approaches to solving problems or addressing market needs and opportunities. This is a basis for co-creation.
Co-creation is something we hear a lot about today, even though it was first popularised back in 2000 by the Harvard Business Review. And it's something we get really excited about at Spark because we know that our customers won't remain competitive by being insular, so we're always encouraging co-creation exercises and workshops.
Here are a few pointers we focus on when delivering a co-creation workshop and, hopefully, things you can borrow from when conducting your co-creation exercises.
- Appoint a leader. We find it's best to have someone creative and unbiased, as this allows for inclusivity and openness.
- If you're running an in-person or virtual workshop, make sure the setting is inspiring and aligned with the work you are doing. Make introductions and get people familiar with each other. Keep it fun and light but focused.
- If you have a large group, then don't be afraid to mix things up. Co-creation is about inclusivity and involving the relevant stakeholders, but it's also about diverse skills, thinking, and perspectives. Put some people from marketing with some from finance and finance with some from IT.
- Co-creation is a business strategy. Like any strategy, it's best to start with a clear definition of the work you are doing. Use a framework like the Golden Thread theory, connecting your tasks through to your organisational goals and ensuring that everyone participating understands each other's needs and motivations = common vision and shared values.
- Timing. Some stakeholders needn't be involved in every aspect of the co-creation process, so be sure to involve the right people at the right time. Communicating the why, when, and how everyone can contribute will help ensure a successful co-creation outcome.
- Co-creation is about collective creativity. But, with creativity, things can go off-centre quickly. That's not a bad thing, but do try and keep it focused and to a schedule. You will have conflicts, sometimes impassioned, embrace those but be sure everyone's voice is heard and listened to.
- Evaluate and reflect. Is the outcome what you expected - why or why not? Documenting the process will help set a framework for future co-creation exercises that will eventually lead to very streamlined and seamless business activity.
And always remember to:
Be Vulnerable: co-creation requires transparency. You might have to admit some hard truths about your business and hear feedback that you might not like but, remember, it's all for a successful outcome.
Listen: effective listening is better than talking. Listen to what the market tells you and act on that. Ongoing communication with your team, external partners, and customers will help set positive expectations around roles, responsibilities and outcomes from the co-creation process.
Learn: Co-creation is about learning. It's an ongoing process for betterment. Be open to the learning process.