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Innovation is necessary in the world we live in. But it is not always an easy task. Many times, your team’s work is limited and needs an outside look. That’s right, solutions can be found outside your organization through partnerships with other companies. That is the concept of co-creation.

As a result of Digital Transformation, it has become much easier to be connected to external agents when searching for more disruptive and innovative solutions. This partner can be a customer, a supplier, or even a competitor. The most important aspect is to meet the needs of a market segment by creating a more complete product or service.

But how does this open innovation approach work? After all, how do we work with other companies to produce something new? Continue reading this article to understand more about the concept of co-creation, the benefits for your company, and how to put it into practice!

What is co-creation?

Imagine your team has identified a demand from a client but due to lack of financial resources, manpower, or inputs for creation, was not able to continue with the project to solve the demand.

The viable alternative to continue with the project is co-creation: a form of innovation that includes the participation of external agents (partners, suppliers, clients, and even competitors)

in the development of products, solutions, and services. The idea is to gather varying expertise to add value to the result of the projects.

By adopting co-creation, it is a lot easier to understand what the customer wants and, mainly, deliver a more accurate result that is fully aligned to their needs. The collaboration between teams with different expertise stimulates innovation and provides more visibility to the companies and their products and/or services.

How does co-creation work?

The most common way co-creation occurs is through a partnership between an organization and its suppliers or consumers. Using ideas from its audience, it is possible to develop a more personalized and suitable product to solve the problems of its customers. Meanwhile, the vendor can supply the resources needed to materialize the project.

However, for a co-creation project to work it is necessary to follow some guidelines and proven practices. Have you imagined bringing together a team that works in a decentralized way with another that has standardized practices and processes? Communication is essential in order to have a productive exchange of ideas and knowledge to reach the final goal.

Some pillars must be followed for co-creation to work efficiently:

  • Direct communication and plenty of dialogue between all involved 
  • Access to the resources and information about the project for both parts
  • Understanding of the benefits and risks involved
  • Establishing a transparent relationship

What are the benefits of co-creation for you company?

Check out some of the main advantages!

New business opportunities

Your company may be stagnant due to different types of limitations. From the moment an external agent becomes part of this dynamic, new business opportunities can emerge. This could be to work in a segment which has not been explored before or to go the extra mile for the end customer.

Risk (and cost) reduction involved in the project

Risk and cost reduction involved in a project is another significant benefit. Instead of taking all the responsibility or impact in case something goes wrong, the cost is split with the partner. It is also possible to find more creative solutions to develop or improve processes.

More ideas allow for the creation of more personalized solutions

Co-creation provides a more innovative and efficient creative process. Brainstorming becomes richer with the collaboration of teams with different skills and experiences. The vision that another company or individual brings to your business can be essential to finding more personalized solutions to old problems. It can be in relation to the end customer, or even to the operation of your own company.

Multidisciplinarity of competencies

Co-creation also allows for more people from different backgrounds and knowledge to contribute to the final solution. The multidisciplinarity of competencies is another way of enriching the project even more. Different visions and approaches help develop a product that breaks from the standard mold and is even more relevant to the customer.

More efficient project management

Another improvement from co-creation is more efficient project management. Even though it seems to be more complex in the beginning, the administration of what is being done becomes, in fact, even more efficient. The workflow is better defined, ensuring that no steps are set aside, and the final goal is achieved.

How to apply co-creation in your company?

With so many advantages to the business, why don’t you apply co-creation in your company?

Before proceeding with this idea, however, it is important to take some factors into consideration. The first one is the definition of a common objective between the involved parties, including what each one will receive with the execution of the project and what the risks involved in the operation are.

After the innovation team defines the objective of the project, it is time to find the ideal partners. Who will provide the necessary support or what is missing in your team? In order to improve customer service, it could be interesting to open the creative process to include the participation of customers. It is necessary to define how co-creation will work.

Because of this, the creation of an SLA (Service Level Agreement) is most recommended, establishing what is expected of each part, the responsibilities, and obligations, especially in case of co-creation with other organizations. After that, it is time to execute what was planned, filter through the best alternatives, and define paths to be followed in the implementation of the project.

Any company that wishes to stand out should constantly look for improvements that offer more to its consumers. Innovation does not necessarily need to come only from within the company. New solutions can emerge with the union of two completely distinctive jobs. That is why it is important to implement concepts such as co-creation to constantly develop, create, and implement innovative ideas.

Now that you know more about what co-creation is, how it works, and what the benefits for your organization are, how about keeping up to date with other relevant topics to your company? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive content like this directly in your inbox!