By doing a lot Customer Development myself lately, I face all the time the challenge, how to find a group of potential clients with a similar (preferable active) problem. One of the idea’s is to turn it around and first discuss problems with with a group of potential clients. You can call crowd sourcing of Customer-Problem fit, or some kind of co-creation, without creation. So only analyze the problems together. Probably we can learn the most of co-creation, so I made a summery of a review made by the Belgium Board of Innovation in 2011.

Based on the presentation from Board of Innovation an overview:

Types of Co-creation:

  • Club of experts
  • Crowd of people (also crowd sourcing)
  • Coalition of parties
  • Community of kindred spirits: (group of people with similar interests)
Four types of co-creation

There 5 guiding principals:

  • Inspire participation: Trigger people to join your challenge: open up and show what is in it for them
  • Select the very best: you need the best ideas and the best people to deal with today’s complex issues
  • Connect creative minds: You have to enable bright people to deal to build on each others ideas, both on- and offline
  • Share results: Giving back to people – and finding the right way to do it – is crucial
  • Continue development: Co-creation is a longer term engagement, in- and outside your company

The platforms

Quirky is a co-creation platform for inventors. The platform offers whole stages from ideation to sales

Key learnings:

  • Give the easiest job to the crowd (generating idea’s), work alone on the hardest part (finding manufacturers, engineering…)
  • Work together in between (feedback, branding) and afterwards (sales)
  • Reward your co-creator in a way they think is correct and valuable
  • Give to many tools to contribute in many ways (voting, messages, rating-systems…)
OpenIDEO is a platform where people/companies post challenges “for the social good” which can be solved through 3 phases: inspiration, concepting and evaluation.

Key learnings:

  • People contribute for free if they see the benefit of the project or get the recognistion they are looking for.
  • Splitting up the designing process in phases makes it easier to choose idea’s/concepts
The Flemmisch Living Lab Platform supports private and public organizations, associations or individuals who want to perform living lab research. Experimentation and co-creation with real users in their own living environment.

Key learnings

  • Real-live co-creation with different parties needs a proper cooperation structure between all different parties
  • When you want really valuable user feedback you have to get to the place where they feel most comfortable (=their home) to get relevant results
Ushahidi is a non-profit tech company that develops free and open source software for communication, visualization and interactive mapping. It is software and tools for co-creation.

Key learnings

  • Making it possible to contribute online in many offline ways (SMS, voice to speech…) makes the platform more valuable
  • If your projects gets the support of the ” offline” community it has a good base for action

Local motors gives people the opportunity to build their own cars through co-creation.

Key learnings

  • Competition in an early stage, and pure co-creation in this phase that follows, ensures a good amount of people to start co-creating with.
  • Working with local micro factories enables flexibility in realisation and ensures no big investments have to be made

Innocetive is a website where (big) companies can post problems which can be solved by individuals. Winning outcomes receives prices. Most problems posted are scientific problems that are solved by students or other people with science interest.

Key learnings

  • Paying your users with money can be done but this is not always good for real collaboration
  • Focussing on one domain (sceince problems) makes the platform more exclusive, with more interest for the user to participate.

The first thing after reviewing is that a few platforms are disappeared already. Which probably means that co-creation is in the early stage or simply very difficult to make it working. Co-creation seems to be attractive but hard to bring in practice.

Quircky seems to be a very active platform. Probably because selling the co-created makes it attractive. OpenIdeo is very complete and is a good base for co-creation in general. Probably creating niches based on the Quircky idea, in combination with the functionality of OpenIdeo would be the best way to setup “own” co-creation. Local motors is a nice example of it.

Local motors have their micro factories to create a solution together. Coming back to analyze the problems together Local motors is the best base for the crowd sourced Customer-Problem fit, although it is more a voting process then real analyzing the problem. In one of my next posts I will describe the idea for the crowd sourced Customer-Problem fit.

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