Co-creation: Where a customer focus drives innovation and efficiency [5 Reading Tips]

Source: JZhuk - Fotolia
Source: JZhuk – Fotolia
Co-creation is nothing new. However, it is a strategy that, despite of its multiple benefits for companies, is still far from taking roots because of all that it implies: engaging customers openly and transparently and, especially, sharing detailed data with them. However, the release of the shortlist of proposals for a new Mozilla logo, behind which there’s a new global identity of the open web pioneer, brought co-creation back into the spotlight.
 
In a world where companies are increasingly focused on their customers and where more companies structure their organisations and processes around their customers, it is surprising that the number of initiatives to make them participate actively in the brands’ day-to-day is still low.
 

DHL: Customer-driven innovation

There are several ways to make customers get involved in earlier stages of the processes. However, the common denominator for all is that customers feel free to express themselves in a creative way and participate in the life of a brand to design a product, to start up a service, or to develop customer experiences that perfectly match their needs. The main advantage of co-creation is to drive value and to build up a more solid and somehow equal relationship brand-customer, in such a manner that the engagement is reinforced. Co-creation is the union of several forces and minds with the objective of doing things better, more efficient and effective. Hundreds of heads are better and smarter than one, aren’t they?

DHL is a good example of using co-creation to drive value. They listen to their customers to make a step further in making supply chains more agile and, consequently, in improving business performance overall. DHL decided to bring customers and their DHL service partners together for workshops in innovation centers (in Germany and Singapore) to share best practices and create value.

Bill Meahl, chief commercial officer at DHL, recently said that the purpose is to “conduct intensive hands-on workshops that explore and understand technology, economic, socio-political and culture trends to develop new ways to manage supply chains and logistics.”

However, Mr. Meahl pointed out that the key point in such kind of initiatives is to select the right customers to work with and to train employees’ capacities so that they could understand the dynamics of working with customers.

As a result of these workshops and kind of brainstorming and inspirational sessions as well as other customer co-creation formats, some innovations have been launched in the last times, such as a Parcelcopter.

According to Forbes, customer satisfaction, on-time delivery performance, and less customer loss have been the most highlighted benefits of placing big stakes in co-creation to DHL.

Made.com: Sharing economy and co-creation at its best

Another example that has come to attention is made.com, a furniture e-retailer that allows customers to vote on the designs that they want to see manufactured. Only the most popular designs are sent to the production plants. They manufacture furniture almost on-demand.

Moreover, they offer a service called “Made Unboxed” through which customers upload their own pictures of furniture because made.com has limited showroom. The online community can also nominate some of the home designs to allow potential buyers to visit the creations at the “interior designers’” homes.

General remarks

Co-creation in its multiple formats is a good way to make the most of personalisation. It combines industry-led and customer-centric approaches to enrich the final result of every product or service. However, companies that decide to take the leap into co-creation should choose the most suitable markets and customers wisely in order to guarantee the success of the project.

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