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During the Q&A session of our latest webinar, The Limits, Fads and Value of Co-creation, our expert panel answered your questions about co-creation and product innovation.

Today, many Fortune 500 companies, including many of our clients, flock towards co-creation to create products that appeal to both new and existing customers. But there are many facets of co-creation that marketers and researchers still don't understand and want to know about.

Here are the top four questions our expert panelists answered during our webinar on co-creation:

  1. Does co-creation work in a B2B (business-to-business) setting?

In the business world, many companies do not like to open their design and operation processes with other organizations, especially with competitors. However, with the exception of sensitive product development projects, there are many instances where co-creation can work in a B2B environment.

Stephen Benson, co-creation professional, shared the story of Barista Lavazza, one of the largest espresso cafes in India. The company collaborated with the country's leading English language publisher, Penguin Books, to create a whole new customer experience within Barista coffee shops. The strategic alliance lend itself to a specific deal where the cafÌ© chain would provide space to the publishing company for its high-profile book launches and in return would provide an entire collection of Penguin Books for free reading to cafÌ© patrons.

  1. If you have a breakthrough idea that been fleshed out, will co-creation work for it?

"Absolutely, co-creation works well if the idea is fleshed out," said Ray Poynter, Director of Vision Critical University. In fact, co-creation works particularly well for fully blossomed ideas.

A company may have a great product, but people may not be buying it. Co-creation enables the company to connect with customers to find out how to better position themselves or fine-tune the product. Tweaking a product, making it bigger or smaller, faster or stronger, is all within the realm of iterative or incremental co-creation.

  1. Can co-creation be implemented in a government agency?

Thinking outside of consumer packaged goods, countless other industries - including government, healthcare and finance - can leverage the power of the crowd.

"The Obama administration has used co-creation across multiple agencies," said Leonard Murphy, Editor-in-Chief of GreenBook. They licensed a platform utilized by the armed services and the U.S. Navy where current enlisted folks could submit ideas to develop new policies.

Governments use think tanks, which are a form of co-creation with citizens and civil servants. In fact, one of the political think tanks outside of Washington uses the Vision Critical platform to develop political positioning.

  1. How many people need to be included to make co-creation effective?

A popular question Stephen Benson receives is, "How do we determine the number of people needed to host an effective co-creation project?"

The number of invites needed for a co-creation project is dependent on the type of challenge a company is asking. If it is looking for the next heat-resistant polymer to 5,000 degrees, they are probably going out to a very narrow and specialized community. However, if the company is looking for a great new fresh pasta idea, most of us have experience eating pasta and have an opinion on pasta and what would make a great new pasta idea. Rather than asking a niche segment, asking a broader population will suffice.

Remember that it's the number of people a company can get involved and engaged in the challenge which will dictate the number of great ideas that come through. Stephen put it best when he said, "90% of most ideas are crap, 9% are good but not strategic or on target, and 1% that hit what the organization is looking for."

Watch the full webinar here to get answers to more questions, including:

  • How do you motivate people in co-creation activities?
  • How do you engage people in co-creation if the product category is dull?
  • How do you go from 1,000 open-ended ideas and sort it down to one?

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