Sunday, January 1, 2012

Successful business cases of co-creation in action

There are very famous and well known cases that helped the co-creation discipline to become famous. I distinguish in examples where co-creation has been used to boost regular businesses and others where co-creation is at the centre of the business model. On the first type, among the most known are the following:
·         “My Starbucks Idea”. It was set up for customers to exchange ideas with each other and directly with Starbucks. Customers give opinions on everything such as products, services, layout, advertising, corporate social responsibility, in store music, and so on. They feature and reword the most active users and implement a good numbers of ideas received. Some numbers: more than 93k ideas shared, more than 1,3million users and 5,5milion pages view per month.
·         “Dell Ideastorm”. Dell went on to setup a number of customer feedback environments from Ideastorm, Studio Dell and Direct to Dell where they asked users to submits new ideas and issues openly, discuss them with one other and their employees. This made Dell to turnaround the bad reputation reached in those years where 45% of the posts regarding Dell where negative in an opposite situation with 5.3k customers issues were solved and an average of 3.5millions visits per month.
·         “Nike ID Studio”. It allows customers design their own Nike trainer and buy or just share it with their friends across social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. The online service was launched in 1999 and gave the ability to choose from a limited range of different materials and colours to develop their own style of tennis shoe. Today there is a choice of more than 30 trainers models, more than 80 different material option type. The success of the initiative is testified by the 3 millions unique users going on the site every month.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why combining co-creation and collective intelligence?

It is a common trend to be in favour of open innovation and co-creation. We have all heard about the wisdom of crowds, bringing the outside in, and we all believe in "none of us is as smart as all of us”. Collective wisdom considers “multiple opinions and forms of intelligence. Wisdom in groups is demonstrated by insight, good sense, clarity, objectivity, and discernment rooted in deep caring and compassion”. We connect on political, social, and economic strategies and understand psychological, spiritual and cultural roots.
Co-creating and collective intelligence/wisdom are forming a hybrid forces, a calling to reclaim the participation of people in groups as positive, useful, healing, life affirming. We alter the way that we see the world in order to solve problems together.
It is a fact that humans today love to participate in problem-solving online, to have a voice and to express themselves, to be a part of the story-telling of new media, and to be a part of the collective intelligence process. The cultural, economic and political changes brought on by online intelligence sharing, via different media, have been truly amazing and reflect extraordinary cultural shifts in the 21st century. There is a huge opportunity out of there, people feel right to collaborate to solve higher issues, higher order of problems or matters.  
Enabling is one thing, participating quite another. Mass dialogue just does not simply happen. There are many reasons why people feel restrained to freely engage and exchange ideas. Tech by itself will not overcome these obstacles. Captivating your audience requires purpose, encouragement and reciprocity. We need to create a context for mass dialogue and co-creation, unleashing the tacit knowledge and passion of people around brands, products and organizations.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What is co-creation?

Co-creation is a business philosophy  and strategy aimed at putting the customer at the heart of the company, mainly in the product development. Specifically, companies behind the co-creation emphasize the generation and ongoing realization of mutual firm-customer value. Co-creation allows and encourages a more active involvement from the customer to create a value rich experience. The co-creation is a powerful approach to reduce  the gap between companies and customers. The customers are seen as a key resource of knowledge that goes much beyond the normal customer researches, as they provide ideas, suggestions on how to improve products/services or to generate the development of them.

Co-created value arises in the form of personalized, unique experiences for the customer (value-in-use) and ongoing revenue, learning and enhanced market performance drivers for the firm (loyalty, relationships, customer word of mouth). Value is co-created with customers if and when a customer is able to personalize his/her experience using a firm's product-service proposition – in the lifetime of its use – to a level that is best suited to get his/her job(s) or tasks done and which allows the firm to derive greater value from its product-service investment in the form of new knowledge, higher revenues/profitability and/or superior brand value/loyalty.

Co-creation is a powerful trend in product development that has been around for quite some time, but has recently started to gain traction.  Scholars C K Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy introduced the concept in their 2000 Harvard Business Review article, “Co-Opting Customer Competence”.  Value will be increasingly co-created by the firm and the customer, they argued, rather than being created entirely inside the firm. Co-creation in their view not only describes a trend of jointly creating products. It also describes a movement away from customers buying products and services as transactions, to those purchases being made as part of an experience. The authors held that consumers seek freedom of choice to interact with the firm through a range of experiences. Customers want to define choices in a manner that reflects their view of value, and they want to interact and transact in their preferred language and style.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Swarm intelligence

A new theory, which I found extremely interesting, is referring to Swarm intelligence (SI) defined as the collective behaviour of decentralized, self-organized systems, natural or artificial. The concept is employed in work on artificial intelligence. The expression was introduced by Gerardo Beni and Jing Wang in 1989, in the context of cellular robotic systems. SI systems are typically made up of a population of simple agents interacting locally with one another and with their environment. The inspiration often comes from nature, especially biological systems. The agents follow very simple rules, and although there is no centralized control structure dictating how individual agents should behave, local, and to a certain degree random, interactions between such agents lead to the emergence of "intelligent" global behaviour, unknown to the individual agents.
Is this phenomenon new? The “swarms of men” have always existed. But in the past, people could recognize a swarm only after the swarm has shown itself, today people group because they recognize the strength of being a group. The “swarm of men” phenomenon is booming nowadays. The “the horizontal web, the peer-to-peer” success is one example where digital contents are shared among individuals. The information available for all without limits and costs. Not by chance, totalitarian government such in the Nazism period were controlling the information and made large use of the Radio. Today China and Iran are trying to control internet to limit natural groups creation.

What is the collective intelligence?

Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making in bacteria, animals, humans and computer networks.  For what is relevant here, it is a fantastic phenomenon where Groups of individuals doing things collectively that seem intelligent.
There is a long way along since the entomologist  Mr. William Morton Wheeler's observation (seemingly independent individuals can cooperate so closely as to become indistinguishable from a single organism stated in 1911) who was the first to mention the "superorganism" to the most recent phenomenon of Twitter or Wikipedia. But nowadays, thanks to the current technology development seams the right moment to finally enhance the “collective intelligence” to the level it deserves.
It is not just the technology development though, there are other signals show us that the “collective intelligence” can be the new way, the right track to a better future. In the last January 25th, during the day of the revolution in Egypt, most of the communication among the revolts was done by Twitter. Not by chance, Weal Ghonim, Egyptian, was recognized as the most influential person of the year by Time USA because he started the protests vs the Egyptian government from his blog. Weal Ghonim has been the starter not the leader. The people, the Egyptians are still fighting for their rights today with no single leader but people around an ideal and put together thanks to internet.