Co-creation with customers: benefits requiring an effort

BY Fernando L. Mompó on 11 / 02 / 2014

Consumers (at least a growing part of them) are no longer passive. Some of them can even be considered creative. That’s the reason why forward thinking companies are inviting them to help them come up with their next generation of products and services.

Customer-led innovation is one of the most exciting developments in open innovation. But customer Co-creation and collaboration comes also with its difficulties and potential problems. Involving customers in open innovation is not a straightforward task and it does not suit every company. Not all customers are neither suited to the open innovation process.

Do not just be fooled by wishful thinking. This kind of process requires effort. It requires know how, methodology, proper management, organizational culture,… or just fail and learn in the process and taking the risk involved on it

On the other hand, Co-creation with customers offers many benefits already known by companies that take this path. It can mean that products are developed in shorter time frames and with less investment than those projects or products that are just the result of internal research and development. Once in the market, there is also a much higher probability of alignment with a particular target or niche.

Of course, this does not mean that internal R&D and Innovation departments are excluded. They play the same role as ever. We think that even a more important one: to allow a company to utilize both internal and external resources, enlarging its knowledge base exponentially. We are convinced, better results can come from a better pool of people.

To reap the benefits of open innovation, managers must understand what to open, how to open it and how to manage the resulting problems. An article on MITSloan Management Review, based on researching the emergence of open-innovation systems in numerous sectors of the economy, argues about challenges and opportunities of Open Innovation. 

Using Open Innovation to Identify the Best Ideas

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