Co-Creation is a not a new term.  The idea has been around for a long time under different terms.  The most frequently used phrase seems to be a partnering relationship.  Personally, I like “Co-Creation” because it is more specific in its definition and intent.

University of Michigan Ross School of Business Professors and strategy thought leaders C K Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy first publicly introduced the concept to the world of
business in their 2000 Harvard Business Review article, “Co-Opting Customer Competence.”  “Value will be increasingly co-created by the firm and the customer”, they argued in their Harvard Business School Press book The Future of Competition, “rather than being created entirely inside the firm.”  “Co-creation in their view not only describes a trend of jointly creating products, it also describes a movement away from customers buying products and services as transactions, to those purchases being made as part of an experience,” according to one review.

I would add to their definition by positing that Co-Creation is more than a strategy or marketing slogan to replace the term “partnering relationship.”  It is a business philosophy and a leadership way-of- life that requires time and hard work.

Co-Creation is market research, market adaptation, and customer service at its best.

Co-Creation is not a phrase you can tack up on the wall for your employees or on your website and win greater market share.  It is a new framework for doing business.  To start
down what will be a new way of managing has its risks.  Asking for client participation – their time and effort necessary for effective collaboration – and then repeatedly failing to act is akin to a high-speed expressway to client conflict and dissatisfaction.

If you doubt that, let me provide an analogous example of what will happen if you fail to follow through:  just repeatedly ask your spouse for his or her advice, and then appear – repeatedly – to ignore it.  There will be what I like to call “noisy consequences.”

In our quest at JohnGSelf Associates to practice transformational executive search, we are adopting Co-Creation as a way of life.  For a small firm that is working to break out of the crowd, we know this approach has its risks.  The time it takes to ensure that there is a beneficial relationship between our company and our clients is not insignificant.  But, we believe that in this new healthcare economy, it is the right approach.