Co-creation is a form of collaborative innovation: ideas are shared and improved together, usually with customers or stakeholders. Its a fancy buzz word for getting more people involved in the design process. This could be via market research, events or platforms that bring a community together to contribute. At Goodordering we definitely believe in the power of collaborating with our customers. Many of our bags have undergone subtle iterations due to customer feedback and even brand new lines have come as a result of customers offering up their suggestions for products via our website and social media platforms.
Co-created products by Japanese goods brand Muji, for example, have garnered higher sales than those designed in-house.
No other company better illustrates the power of customer co-creation than LEGO.
LEGO has always had a reputation for creativity. However, the company’s commitment to innovation helped rescue the brand from a challenging financial situation in the early 2000s, the result of brand dilution, over-extended product lines, and excessive growth.
In 2004, a change in leadership resulted in a fresh approach to open-source product development and the creation of LEGO Ideas. Since then, the crowdsourcing platform has received suggestions from over 1 million people, with fans voting on the most popular ideas.
LEGO Ideas (http://ideas.LEGO.com) is an open innovation community where LEGO fans (age +13) can submit their own ideas for new LEGO products, and vote for other members’ ideas. Members collect votes for their ideas online, and ideas that receive 10,000 votes have a chance of being selected to become part of the LEGO Group’s product portfolio. To date, 23 products have been released via the platform.
In return for contributing a winning idea, the creator can give final approval for the end product, be recognised on all packaging and marketing, and even earn a percentage of product sales.
In early 2018, Swedish furniture and home goods retailer IKEA launched ‘Co-Create IKEA’, a digital platform encouraging customers and fans to develop new products. IKEA’s co-creation platform focuses on four specific areas:
- Asking customers for product idea suggestions
- Running IKEA Bootcamps to work with entrepreneurs
- Collaborating with university students on product solutions
- Connecting with innovation labs around the world
If a suggestion for furniture or product design is successful, IKEA may license the technology or agree to invest in future products. For designers and technically talented fans, this creates a strong incentive: to gain exposure through the world’s largest furniture retailer.
Even podcasts create content which is co-created with customers or listeners. One of my favourite podcasts at the moment is Mr Ballen who tells spooky stories across different channels. He says in his introduction that if you have suggestions for stories you can write it on his reddit page. The Mr Ballen reddit page has over 59,000 followers, many of who vote up ideas for content of scary stories for his podcasts and you tube channel.
Bag company Carl Friedrik was founded in 2012, but this year it decided it would launch a line of casual bags. The team realised they needed to both clearly communicate the shift to its customer base as well as understand what people needed from this type of product. Carl Friedrik is offered its Creator's Club members a 40% discount on the prototype bag in exchange for three feedback sessions and the opportunity to trade in the test bag for the final product.
Benefits of co-creation
- Better buy in from customers
- More likely to be more inclusive to a wider audience
- Wider pool of ideas to draw on
- A good source of innovation
How to co-create products
Ask customers via social media stories, the “poll” functionality is really great for this because it collages all the results together too to make the analysis really easy and fast.
3. Ask your customers to submit ideas in a competition format.
Read more about co-creation in these articles
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