Today I want to take a look at two really interesting practices of co-creation and crowdsourcing. So what is co-creation? According to the JSR (Journal Service Research) it is a collaborative new product development in which consumers actively contribute and select various elements of a new product offering. This is just about as good of a definition as any. All I can say is that we live in a really crazy, unique, and awesome time. Simply put the internet. We have been able to collaborate in such amazing ways by having access to a network that allow companies and people a like to have access to one another’s skill sets, which has led to some pretty cool things.
What are some behaviors that encourage co-creation? This is a somewhat loaded question, because there are many reasons why people want to particpate. It ranges from psychological to monetary reasons. Some ways that companies have encouraged co-creation is by increasing benefits, profit sharing, reducing cost to contributors, improving quality.
What are some of roadblocks that prohibit co-creation? Co-creation can be easier said than done. Often consumers needs are complex and companies may not be able to fully assess or afford to see a product come to realization. Another thing that migh stifle co-creation is that companies may not want to share intellectual property that may make them vulnerable or exposed to competitors.
What is Crowdsourcing? It is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.
Who is doing it? There are many companies, customers, and innovators who are participating in collaborative efforts to overcome hurdles, or just share insights into a product that they might want to see developed. Where do you find funding, or who might you enlist to do the work? A few companies that I wanted to talk about are Kickstarter and Quirky. Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform. You support an idea that you would like to see come to life by pledging money where you as a pledger will hopefully see a tangible reward. I say hopefully because Kickstarter isn’t without flaws. One of the biggest hurdles for many people who have great ideas is seeing them all the way through. I will never forget when a wise man once told me that “good ideas are cheap, implementation is expensive”. This in an essence is what Kickstarter struggles the most with. Kickstarter itself has somewhat hands off approach. There have been many cool projects that have come to fruition in kickstarter’s defense. Quirky takes a more hands on approach. It takes peoples submissions for the next million dollar idea, sorts them, takes the best ideas, and creates them, distributes them, and offers 10-30% profit sharing to the person who submitted the idea. Pretty awesome if you are the person who has a bunch of ideas, but may not have the time or logistics to see them through. Quirky takes on most of the heavy lifting. Pretty cool company.
In today’s world you don’t need a million dollars to launch that great idea, and if you do, you can find financial help from peers and investors through crowdsourcing. If you need help solving complex problems or to help brainstorm the next idea you can enlist the world through the portal we call the internet. Co-creation and crowdsourcing is becoming quite relevant and useful. I think we will continue to see more and more projects done through collaboration. Pretty awesome that we have leveled the playing field. It seems as though the internet’s compressing of space and time has had some pretty cool benefits.