The Potential of Co-Creation Communities for Customer Engagement and Innovation

The success of a growing number of co-creation communities gives us a deeper understanding of best practices for organizing them and how they can be used to heighten customer engagement and innovation. This article provides an informative overview of their fantastic potential and contains some helpful case histories.

The success of co-creation platforms like Threadless shows that people don’t only desire to express themselves creatively, but they also want to create together with likeminded individuals, in online and offline communities. Equally importantly, the success of co-creation projects like Yahoo’s Life in a Day shows that it’s possible to break down big creative endeavors, like making a movie or creating a product, into small tasks, inspire thousands of contributors to engage in the task, then aggregate the contributions back into a meaningful artifact.

Typically, the platform owners, or their partner organizations initiate co-creation projects, but community members can also do so. On many platforms, community members retain the right to their own contributions, but winners usually give over their rights for prize money, or licensing fees. In some cases, the initiators share the ownership of the project by releasing it under a Creative Commons license.

Most co-creation platforms enable community members to submit contributions, activate their social networks, and rate, vote and comment on contributions. Some also provide gamification features like points and levels to encourage community members to participate more. A few platforms also enable community members to collaborate with others and form teams. Finally, some platforms are more restrictive, and only allow community members to vote on options.

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