Monday, March 28, 2011

Definition of Co-Creation

In my last post in the term definition series, I spoke about the confusion with the term mass customization, and that it leaves us “mass customizers” looking for a way to describe what it actually is that we’re doing. My friends at Blank-Label thus decided to use the term co-creation, announcing the “Co-Creation Custom Revolution”, or #CCCR on Twitter. 

Co-Creation is foremost a very loose term, so I definitely can’t say that it “doesn’t fit”. I’d like to think as co-creation as an umbrella term for mass customization (including design your own and create your own) and open innovation (generally speaking the idea of listening to others when innovating). In essence, it means that companies and customers (and sometimes partners) jointly create products. “Design your own” websites are an example - the customer provides the specifications, the manufacturer actually makes the product. In the traditional product development processes, it basically means ‘increasing the number of ideas that go into the product innovation funnel’ - which leans more towards open innovation.

An amazing and fairly new example of the co-creation is Quirky. You can both submit product ideas, but also contribute to existing ideas - and quirky then actually makes the product. Examples include tea pots that keep the tea tag from dropping in, or gloves that keep you warm while allowing you to operate an iPhone. The company and the innovators are one community - probably the most extreme example of co-creation.

Another strong example for co-creation, where customers and manufacturers join forces, are the customized product market places: Spreadshirt, Cafepress and Zazzle - all three sites where you can design anything from t-shirts to mugs to aprons. I wrote an article on egoo-journal about this. 



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