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Co-creation - what does it mean in practice?

Co-creation - what does it mean in practice?

Co-creation may feel like a buzz word that has been banded about over the last decade, but what does it mean in practice?

Co-creation goes one step further than research and engagement. Its not about listening, or even having a two way conversation, it is about sitting down in a room with your stakeholders and working together to create a new process, product, service, idea, way of working or anything else.

Bringing customers and staff together to jointly discuss problems and work together to design solutions enables authentic feedback to be captured, knowledge to be harnessed and ideas to be born directly from those who are closest to the challenges. Genuine co-creation puts power in your customers’ hands leading to greater ownership, buy in and brand resonance.

In practice this typically involves a qualitative methodology, bringing together decision makers, staff from all levels and customers in one room to genuinely discuss the way forward. At Explain, we typically employ an agile approach and a design sprint methodology whereby we first focus on the problems or challenges faced before working through a multi stage idea generation process to agree a final solution.

Organisations at the forefront of customer engagement now see co-creation as business as usual to enable customers to genuinely sit at the heart of the organisation giving a competitive edge. Co-creation is now an increasing expectation in regulated industries, such as water and electricity and gas, with regulators Ofwat and Ofgem pushing water companies and electricity/gas distribution businesses to co-create business plans with consumers, customers and stakeholders leading to a greater level of trust and active participation with these essential services. We’re also seeing a significant shift in the finance sector with a focus on designing products and services around customers needs and wants.

The application for co-creation is vast – we have run co-creative sessions and sprints on everything from co-designing social tariffs to engagement strategies. We have supported Northumbrian Water with their Innovation Festival for the past three years facilitating design sprints on a range of topics.

During the 2018 festival, we worked alongside a range of regional, national and international businesses in collaboration with Northumbrian Water to discover what it means to be a fan, rather than a customer or follower. The week long design sprint incorporated a series of expert presentations or lighting talks, insight from some the countries biggest super fans. A range of idea generation tools and techniques were used to design an engagement model for Northumbrian Water to take forward.

If you’re interested to know more about how Explain can support your business to co-create with your customers, get in touch with the team on 0191 261 5261 or info@explainresearch.co.uk.