Friday, 16 January 2009


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. 

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