Five types of co-creation

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  • Five types of co-creation By SunIdee

  • ? In recent years many companies have experimented with getting their customers actively involved in their innovation process. This type of collaboration is called co-creation.

    Our clients often ask us about co-creation. With this presentation we want to inform you about co-creation and about how you could put it into practise. We made an overview of the five types of co-creation and identified the three critical success factors.

  • What is co-creation?

    Co-creation is involving your customers or end-users in one or more stages of the innovation process. After all, a profound insight in the needs of your customers and users is crucial to create successful products and services that create added value.

    Co-creation is a real collaboration with your customers, by really letting them share their thoughts and ideas about your future products or services.

    This could vary from involving your customer in the first stage of generating new ideas, to involving them in the final phase of your product or concept development.

  • Co-creation benefits

    Co-creation has the following benefits:

    It makes your organisation more customer-oriented.

    It improves the relationship with your customers.

    It increases the success rate of new innovations.

  • Five types of co-creation

  • 1. Co-creation workshops

    Specific users (preferably so-called lead users) are involved in brainstorm sessions to generate ideas or involved in concept workshops to enhance ideas. Co-creation workshops are especially suitable to gain more insight in the needs of your customers or to find ideas that are relatively easy to implement on short or middle long term.


  • You want to generate a lot of free publicity around an upcoming product. You promise that the winning idea will be brought to market. Examples are the HEMA design contest, and the T-shirt maker Threadless whos entire business model is based on co-creation.

    2. Crowdsourcing You define a question or problem for a large audience and offer a reward for 'the winning idea. The interaction with the customer is minimal, since the ideas are developed by the customer themselves.

    Crowdsourcing is applicable in three situations:


    You are looking for inspiration through new ideas that will expand your employees views. A good example is Elektrolux,

    who annually organise a successful contest for students.

    You have a concrete (technical) problem for which you want a solution. A good example is the Connect + Develop programme of P&G.

  • 3. Open source

    A (large) number of volunteers are actively involved in development and maintenance of a product. Open source is often applied with the development of software. It is very suitable if you want to set a new technical standard.

    Examples of successful products are Linux and Firefox. Also the non-profit organisation Creative Commons stimulates this type of co-creation with great success.


  • 4. Mass customisation

    Customers can design their own product within the framework you define. This generally means that a customer can select different shapes, colours or materials for the product parts. This makes him willing to pay a premium price for the product. Mass customisation can accomplish a lot for your brand and positioning, and it can turn your customers into ambassadors.

    Examples of successful products for mass customisation are NikeID and Lego Factory.


  • 5. User-generated content

    Customers create their own products that they share through your system or platform. User-generated content is especially suitable for digital products and services. If you can create the right platform, it will spread rapidly and your platform can even become a brand on its own.

    Examples are YouTube, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Flickr and the numerous blogs on the Internet.


  • Three critical success factors for co-creation

    1. Dont be afraid to share information. There is direct relationship between the amount and the value of the information you share and the value of it and the ideas you get in return.

    2. Be honest to (potential) customers. A customer can remarkably sense whether you are telling truth or not. Honesty from your side will be rewarded with honesty from the customer.

    3. Be sincerely interested. When a customer feels you are sincerely interested in his or her opinion, every question will be answered and you will have access to a wealth of information and ideas.

  • What SunIdee can do

    SunIdee can help you determine the right co-creation approach for your organisation, find the right participants, organise co-creation workshops and guide the process of implementing co-creation processes in your organisation.

    With our customised innovation tools we offer an inspiring co-creation process with clear objectives in mind. Like to know more? Contact us for more information.

  • For more information, please contact us:

    SUNIDEE Prinsengracht 739-741

    1017 JX Amsterdam The Netherlands

    Sanne de Koning t: +31 (0)20 6244291


    The bright way to innovate!