Wednesday, 22 April 2009


We have had fun on this blog site, and we hope you had too. However, we have moved to a new location

Here you can also find all our previous posts, so you don't have to miss anything.

Hope to inspire you again on our new blog! 

The Fronteer Strategy Team. 

Thursday, 9 April 2009

CO-CREATION’S 5 GUIDING PRINCIPLES or.... what is successful co-creation made of?

In challenging times new rules apply. Companies and organisations are searching for tools that can help them win battles. Daily challenges have to be faced. Future growth paths have to be found. Is Co-creation the answer? It might be if you are open for it. But only when done properly Co-creation will truly deliver. Co-creation is more than a tool; it is a Program of Change. There are 4 types of co-creation and 5 guiding principles to any successful Co-creation venture. When applied in the right mix a wonderful result will be served. Successful Co-creation cases from all over the world have been analysed and conclusions have been drawn.  The results are below.

The 4 Types of Co-creation
Co-creation exists in many different ways. Which type to choose is depending on the challenge at hand. There is always an initiator, i.e. the party that decides to start a Co-creation initiative. This can be a company or just a single person. One or (many!) more contributors will be joining along the process. The initiator determines who can join and under what conditions. 

Hence, there are two main dimensions in Co-creation:

Openness: Can anyone join in or is there a selection criterion somewhere in the process?
Ownership: Is the outcome owned by just the initiator or by contributors as well?

These two dimensions lead to the four types of Co-creation:

Club of experts: A very specific challenge is needing expertise and breakthrough ideas. Contributors are found through a selection process. Quality of input is what counts (e.g. Nokia)

Crowd of people: Also known as Crowdsourcing. For any given challenge, there might be a person out there having a genial idea that should be given a podium. It's the Rule of the big numbers (e.g. Threadless)

Coalition of parties: In complex situations parties team up to share ideas and investments. Technical breakthroughs and standards often happen when multiple parties collaborate (e.g. IBM)

Community of kindred spirits: When developing something for the greater good, a group of people with similar interests and goals can come together and create (e.g. Linux)

The 5 Guiding Principles in Co-creation
In Co-creation it is a fine line between doing it right or not cracking it. It is a people’s business. Successful Co-creation initiatives all share 5 common rules:

Inspire participation: Trigger people to join your challenge: open up and show what's in it for them (e.g. P&G Connect & Develop)

Select the very best: You need the best ideas and the best people to deal with today's complex issues (e.g. Innocentive)

Connect creative minds: You have to enable bright people to build on each others ideas, both on- and off-line (e.g. Lego)

Share results: Giving back to people - and finding the right way to do it - is crucial (e.g. Apple iPhone App store)

Continue development: Co-creation is a longer-term engagement, in- and outside your company. Only then it will deliver results (e.g. Dell Ideastorm)

This is a summary of a White Paper called: 
The White Paper is available through Fronteer Strategy 
Author: Martijn Pater
Date: April 2009

About Fronteer Strategy
Fronteer Strategy is an Amsterdam-based consulting firm, specialised in marketing strategy. Our key areas of expertise are innovation, co-creation and brand development. We have diverse backgrounds. Our inquisitive nature is supported by entrepreneurial experience and solid business sense.

About Rooftop co-creation
Rooftop is an expert co-creation tool. Unrestricted perspectives, a hand-picked group of people working together, no interference from day-to-day hassles. A pressure-cooker for insight, inspiration and innovation, it serves to create solid, spot-on concepts and strategies. We believe that co-creation is a long-term engagement between clients and people from outside their company. It’s success is expressed in inspiration, enthusiasm and action.

Monday, 23 March 2009


We have started an ambitious co-creation project for one of the largest financial services in The Netherlands. Since financial products are becoming a commodity, and white label products are starting to appear, large companies have to re-evaluate why they exist. 

Our client is looking at it roots and what it can do for entrepreneurs. Where is the added value? One of the participants in a recent session was inspired by our clients challenge. See his tweet on the left. A start of something great?

I love it when a plan does not fall apart straight from the start..

Monday, 9 March 2009


The basis for development aid is fragile, people are becoming more critical when it comes to their 'well spend' money, and the crisis is not helping... Investors think twice before they invest in projects, let alone consumers like you and me. And if we do invest, we sure as hell like to know what happened to our money! Where did it go, how is it used and what are the results?

These issues were part of the discussion in a very interesting Rooftop session we did last week for Butterfly Works. As Fronteer we were appealed by their refreshing approach towards the development sector so we decided to support them by investing in a Rooftop session.

We brought together a very diverse combination of parties in the development sector as well as creative and more commercial minds. This led to very inspiring discussions and even more interesting and innovative ideas to start doing things differently. In stead of competing, organisations see important opportunities arise to combine their strengths, co-create and work together to reach what are in the end, common goals.

So what seemed as two worlds apart at first, appeared to merge smoothly during the day and led to surprising new insights... We're up for some innovation and co-creation in development aid, that's for sure!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Schizophrenic? Or just tired of all the yada yada about the crisis...

(Sorry, only in Dutch... Here's an article posted on the tongue-in-cheek business blog

‘De Economische Crisis creeert Schizofrene consumenten!’. Adformatie bericht deze week over een onderzoek van BBDO Worldwide. Altijd lachen natuurlijk, mensen voor schizofreen uitmaken.

“De schizofrene consument denkt het een en doet het ander” - zo wordt ons uitgelegd. Uit onderzoek zou blijken dat we als gevolg van ‘de crisis’ ineens onlogische aankoopbeslissingen maken.

Dat de meeste van onze aankoopbeslissingen niet rationeel zijn, wisten we al veel langer: wat we zeggen en wat we doen zijn twee totaal verschillende werelden. Onder ons gedrag liggen complexe patronen, die te maken hebben met onze cultuur, onze religie, onze onderdrukte wensen, etc. Martin Lindstrom schreef hierover onlangs een leuk en lezenswaardig boek: ‘Buyology’.

“Ineens” blijken we sommige aankopen uit te stellen - of zelfs, hemel behoede ons - te heroverwegen! En nu komt de echte bliksemschicht van baanbrekend inzicht: De Prijs Is Niet de Enige Factor die van Grote Invloed is op Onze Aankoopbeslissing! Sommige produkten blijven we kopen, bijvoorbeeld als het een emotionele waarde biedt. ‘No Shit, Einstein!’

Dames en Heren, hiervoor hebben BBDO-teams in 14 landen onderzoek gedaan. Ik zou zeggen: de volgende keer dat er iemand van uw reclamebureau op kantoor langskomt, bied ze een kop koffie aan en maak even een praatje, ze zitten er blijkbaar om verlegen. Dat we in het huidige Bad-News-Bombardement even stilstaan om na te denken wat we ookalweer van dingen vinden, is niet schizofreen maar doodnormaal.

Dat we soms op emotionele gronden iets kopen, is ook niet zo gek. Zelfs op de afdeling transploft weten we inmiddels dat een succesvol produkt moet scoren op de dimensies Onderscheidend, Relevant en Aantrekkelijk.De propositie van het produkt, waarmee je op die dimensies moet scoren, bestaat naast uit technische- en functionele benefits, namelijk ook uit emotionele. (o.a. uitgelegd in “Trading up, the new luxury and why we need it” van De Boston Consulting Group)

Dat werkt ongeveer zo: sluit je ogen en denk aan en MP3 speler.

De mp3 speler heeft een geheugen van 16MB, er kunnen wel 10miljoen liedjes op. Dit is een technische benefit, iets wat te maken heeft met de ‘objectieve’ kwaliteit van een produkt.

Door de software die eropzit, kun je ‘m ook met sensoren in je schoenen gebruiken om tijdens het hardlopen bij te houden hoe je training gaat. Dit is een functionele benefit - het zegt iets over het gebruik.

Nu komen de leukste benefits: de emotionele. Deze mp3speler met software is namelijk een samenwerking tussen Nike en Apple: een van de allergeilste merkenvrijages ooit. Door dit apparaat te kopen voel ik me dus sexy, sportief, winnend, alsmede slim, Californisch en stylish. Noem mij maar schizofreen, maar hier hoef ik niet zo lang over na te denken. “Sterker nog: doet u er nog maar een paar gympies en zo’n mooi joggingspak bij, mevrouw”. Wat nou crisis?

Friday, 13 February 2009


One thing is clear, communities are hot. They seem to be popping up all around us as an increasing number of companies and people have the growing urge to 'start a community'. But where to start?

Last week we attended the 3rd Social Strategy Talk at the Westerunie, titled 'Doe mij een community'. PSV, de Rabobank, a podcast priest and an Obama campaign member shared their experience and knowledge on creating and maintaining a community. Below a little more on the lessons learned.

Hard work
Creating & maintaining a successful community is hard work. It requires good preparation and a clear vision on the purpose & ultimate goal, but it can definitely be worth the effort. As father Roderick said, it took 2000 years of hard work by a lot of nuns, programming in Unix and keeping the IT department of the Vatican going, but in the end "Jesus is a 2000 year old product and still has around 1 billion customers..."

Add value
Although people live in communities by nature, you can't force a community upon someone. Think of the added value for its members, what's their shared goal? Don't ask what the community can do for you, ask what you can do for the community...

Don't reinvent the wheel
As mentioned, starting a community is usually not something you do on the side, it's hard work. And since it's even more hard work to start from scratch -if you can- try to make use of existing communities in stead of reinventing the wheel (and save yourself some money & energy :-)

"I'm here at this congress at the Vatican, but something is going on... all cellphones are ringing and I hear helicopters outside... I think the Pope is dead!" 
If you have anything worthwhile to share, people will be interested. But the hard thing is to keep it this way. Content should always be up-to-date, dynamic and interesting! Keep people actively involved in your content development, match it to their needs, keep it relevant.

A personal touch
The most successful communities have an on-line and off-line aspect. PSV actively makes an effort to complete the on-line brand experience with off-line activities, for example with their yearly kids-day. Part of Obama's success was personal contact combined with new media, creating movement and action among people. So to make your community a success, on-line and off-line, make sure to keep it personal!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

I Love it when a plan comes together


This week sees the 10th edition of AIFW - a platform to put Amsterdam on the fashion map, launched (almost) exactly 5 year ago. The official show schedule starts tomorrow night with the Fortis Opening Soiree, but a number of ambitious young designers make use of 'empty' slots in the schedule by showing 'guerilla-style'. Tonight, Antoine Peters showed his AW09 collection, titled "I'm With Stupid".

I've had the pleasure of co-organising all 10 editions of AIFW from its inception, and will be standing down this saturday. Tonight was a great pleasure: world-famous designer Marcel Wanders giving a standing ovation to Antoine, and just a few heads down the front row, famous stylist Ruud van der Peijl and Bank Honcho HJ Stuyling rubbing shoulders.

This is exactly why we started AIFW - to connect the disciplines in Amsterdam's funky creative industry scene and bring together stakeholders from across the creative-commercial divide.

Like Hannibal Lecter used to say: "I Love It, when a plan comes together..."


In November last year, we informed you about the 'Inspiration Book' called '>5' that we created together with XS4ALL. The book carries 26 visions on the future of the Internet: real stories written by people with very different backgrounds. The book was launched on the FIFI congress on 28th of November. 
Initially the book was for XS4ALL business clients only. However due to the many positive reactions, it was decided to make it available for everybody. 

SO HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: it can now be downloaded from the FIFI website.  

So I would like to invite you to go there and push the download button. Then all you have to do is sit back and enjoy all 26 stories! And... don't forget to pay attention to the inspiring lay-out and visuals that complement each story. Each visual was found on the Flickr website and relates to a certain key-word in the text - very 2.0, don't you think? 

Enjoy the read!


You can find Steve Jobs' first big presentation from 1984 online. Hear the crowd soaring. When we at Fronteer talk about smart brands, we talk about Apple (sometimes). The thing is, this brand is built in a quarter century. It was carefully constructed and nurtured over the years.  

When you have people screaming for more at your first real introduction, and 25 years later still... what can we add to that?

We found the link at TechCrunch

Thursday, 22 January 2009


A while ago one of the experts in a Rooftop session dropped a question "So all people are connected... and then what?" It seemed quite bold at first, but he actually was so right, asking for the reason WHY you would want to be connected, why would you want something... just for the sake of wanting it?

It got me thinking about the role of asking 'why' in the innovation process. As a child you were always asking why? why? Just to get a grip on things and try to understand things. And even though I still ask this question quite often, I noticed that you often stop asking this and just deal with a situation as it comes along. But how wrong can you be!

A well known Japanese business scholar, Ikujiro Nonaka, has some interesting reasoning behind the importance of asking why when it comes to innovation. It all has to do with the 2, probably familiar, types of knowledge that exist: explicit and tacit knowledge (also called episteme and techne, Aristotle). Episteme or explicit knowledge is about knowing WHAT & HOW. It's concrete, measurable knowledge that we can learn from a book or by (individual) training. Something we're particularly fond of in the West. We assume that this is more accurate and reliable, and we just looove information to be measurable and reliable...

In Eastern cultures people embrace the techne or tacit knowledge, which is about knowing WHY. It's based on personal awareness & feelings, a subjective interpretation of situations. It's about knowing why you do or feel things in a specific way. It cannot be universalised or measured scientifically. It grows through experience and is inseparable from the human being who possesses it. Uhhh, freaky...

So in Western cultures we just like to know WHAT the problem is and HOW to fix it. Not wasting time on figuring out why there is a problem and if it's even necessary to fix it at all. But only the tacit knowledge puts the explicit knowledge in a context, something that is quite crucial in innovation... It's the interaction between expertise (knowing what) and experience (knowing why) that makes it possible to evolve, create knowledge and truly innovate. When you find the way to combine this Western and Eastern thinking, you will eventually know the right steps to take.

This only leaves us with the question how to realise this interaction...(since we still like the explicit 'how to' steps, right?). Lets try this:

1) Create a comfortable environment
2) Invite people that dare to ask why
3) Create an open dialogue where why is not a dirty word
4) Always keep in mind the 'so-what'
5) Start sharing knowledge & experience, start to co-create!

Friday, 16 January 2009


Japan is the country of Kawaii - meaning cute (amongst others). Doing some pretty serious retailing research in Japan we found out that even grown up businesses are heavily influenced by this miraculous little word. 

Women determine what is bought and what not. Men get pocket money. Cars, food, travel goods, clothes,  anything really, bought by women. What do women want? Colour and pretty curves basically. This means that entire categories have to adopt to this and that foreign brands have to be well aware of the impact it has on their ranges. This combined with a very strong hype culture makes doing business in Japan tricky to say the least.

In our specific research - travel goods - we found a market dominated by a few players well aware on the might of the retailer and consumers. Double or Nothing is the game. Once you're in, you're doing well. Once you're out, you're out for good. Quality problems? Say by to the brand. Not cute? Same deal. Made in China? Rather not. Luggage brands that did well managed to please everybody: curves, colours, coolness and country of origin. 

What did we learn? Interviewing in Japan is tiring - try to sit in the same hot blue cubicles for days on a row - but Japanese are actually open for business. The ones that have stamina and try to do everything right have a pretty good chance to actually making it out there.

And, don't forget to bring 'stroopwafels'!


One month ago we held a Rooftop co-creation session in Helsinki for Nokia. The subject involved developing scenarios for using mobile phones in the future. The people we invited to join the excellent Nokia team flew in from Portugal, Belgium, Holland and Sweden. A great mix of backgrounds and characters formed the basis for a successful workshop. 

Nokia is actually one of our most cherished clients. They see the true value and meaning of co-creation. Together with them we are exploring the road less travelled in open innovation. This road is one where companies actually allow people from outside to join its challenges for a longer period of time. Nokia intends to come back to our external professionals in a few months to actually touch base on the progress that has been made. And even after that, 9-12 after the session, we would like to review with the entire group what had been done with the workshop outcome. Did it change in any way Nokia's product portfolio, strategy or vision? I can't wait to find out.

Discussion continued in any case long after the session in the KLM business class - our private lounge.


I had the honour of meeting Frank Piller, one of the most knowledgeable people on co-creation, open innovation and mass-customisation. We had set up a meeting since our Rooftop expert co-creation product is the kind of thing Frank researches. Frank is currently conducting a study on the 65 most important co-creation consultancies or intermediates, he told me in an animated conversation. He is especially looking for examples of well executed co-creation projects and he is invesigating the larger expert based platforms like Innocentive. One of the people admired by Frank was, next to Eric von Hippel,  Nikolaus Franke, from the Wirtschaftsuniversitat in Vienna. He also mentioned the success of Innospace, the on-line community based customer research tool, and Hyve, the German design-driven innovation and research firm.

We discussed the different approaches to co-creation and the value some companies bring to the table. Many companies deal nowadays with an urge to step into open innovation and co-creation but don't know how to do that. An awful lot of companies are in or close to being in a pilot phase. I was happy to discuss some of the recent successes we had with co-creation at Heineken and Nokia.

Our approach was seen by Frank as being fresh and differentiating. Some of the things we do he sees being not standard in co-creation are:

Expertise. We believe in finding the best people, screening them, and preparing them well for the assignment. 

Equality. Also, we strive for equality between all parties involved: clients, experts and lead-users. Only then true co-creation is achieved. 

Value. Each participant has different things he or she wants to take out of the session. Recognising that and making it happen for them are crucial.

Synchronisation. When dealing with a diverse group of people with different interests, being on the same page with the same energy level is a must. Sounds easy, it is not.

Continuity. Co-creation does not stop after a session, it continues. When clients recognise that, a wonderful world of opportunities arises. We have an online community space to facilitate that. Before, during and after the session.

A wonderful visit it was.