Hidden Value of Customer Co-Creation

What if I told you there’s a better way? The lines between creator and consumer, buyer and seller, author and reader have blurred. If you invite the consumer, buyer, or reader into the creation process it incites ownership.

We all take pride in the work that we do. We want it to be the best that we are capable of and we are rewarded both intrinsically and extrinsically when we have a sense of ownership. Customer co-creation not only incites ownership, but generates a greater “ownership mentality” in your clients. That’s a big win. People proudly display their kid’s “artwork” on their refrigerators. They don’t display the work of the neighbor’s kids. But, if your kid and the neighbor’s kid co-created a finger painting masterpiece you now have two families anxious to display it.

You share context. Each of us has a limited well of experience to draw from. When we share context with others it gives our solutions depth and richness far beyond what anyone is capable of doing in isolation. Diversity of thinking and inputs yields better outcomes. That’s another win.

Co-creation makes for stronger content. When we combine your chocolate with my peanut butter the result is a far more creative solution.

We live in a world where we all want to participate. Teachers don’t just have students memorize state capitals anymore; they have kids create maps and globes and 3D representations. Which method do you think generates higher learning retention?

How can you involve your followers and clients in the creation process? I think it’s often as simple as just asking them. You need to maintain your position as the expert but you do so in a way that invites them to participate in the sculpting of a solution. Their input matters; it makes the solution stickier, more relevant, and more effective. They will now be your biggest advocate and internal sales team because they too will have the pride of ownership.

My advice is to look for an opportunity to experiment. Customer co-creation isn’t for every situation; there are times where you need to be the expert and do what you do. I wouldn’t want my plumber to allow me to co-create a plumbing solution given that I have little interest, passion, or insight in that area. However, there are opportunities where you can manage an engagement that has a co-creation element to it. You’ll wind up with a better, richer client; a more engaged, satisfied client; and the experience itself is refreshing and intellectually gratifying for everyone.