Engaging your community to future-proof your organisation

Sara DoucetteBlog

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Engagement is a current hot topic and one of the solutions that’s being presented to organisations that want to be innovative. Engaging employees is great and can yield results, but it’s come to a point where organisations have to expand their communities to include external members.

There are other stakeholders in an organisation’s sphere that will also have interesting things to say. customers, partners, suppliers or even competitors, can all be invited to participate and collaborate in Co-creation Communities. This environment helps design the innovative organisations of the future.

You don’t need a crystal ball…

…to predict the future of your organisation; Co-creation Communities offer an opportunity for organisations to stop guessing and start seeing what their future looks like.

Co-creation Communities allow organisations to involve outside communities in the ideation of a new product or service. The participants (an organisation’s stakeholders) are made aware they will be involved in developing new ideas and concepts and will be invited to contribute, evaluate and refine them.

Co-creation Communities also allow organisations to innovate quicker, to gain competitive advantage. The reality is, no in-house R&D department can keep up with the current pace of change. Knowing which direction to go next is not an easy task and businesses need all the help and insights that they can get their hands on. Asking the right questions outside a company’s walls will uncover new and previously unknown perspectives.

A brand’s future value lies in the community it creates

Markets have been changing and we hear the word millennial thrown around constantly, as a definition of the new type of consumer. This is an engaged and proactive consumer, who wants to be treated as an individual and as such, able to create their own bespoke products or at least, influence the way they are designed. These are customers that are thirsty to get involved and all organisations need to do is give them the chance to do so.

Involving customers and other stakeholders will help create unique value through learning and interaction, as co-creation transforms the market into a forum for organisations and their engaged community where they can share, combine and renew each other’s resources and capabilities. Markets are then no longer a place just for monologue, with brands doing all the talking and consumers listening. Introducing Co-creation Communities will facilitate a dialogue between brands and their communities, to deliver great rewards.

The future starts now

This is no longer an entirely new concept and there are several examples of well-known brands and companies that are already introducing co-creation concepts into their DNA. Coca-Cola uses co-creation to crowdsource new marketing ideas. Lego Ideas is a forum for Lego fans to suggest new product ideas, the most popular ones being picked to go into production. There are plenty other organisations doing this, reaping benefits in areas such as:

1 – Increased innovation capacity – Access to a larger pool of ideas, without having to hire a dedicated team.

2 – Increased innovation speed – Identifying new areas of innovation, creating concepts and preparing prototypes for testing can be done within days.

3 – Reduced innovation risk – As the people involved in Co-creation Communities will have some understanding of the product or service they are looking into, organisations can be more confident in the ideas the communities vote for.

4 – Increased flow of quality of ideas and concepts – By involving a wide and varied community of individuals, organisations will be able to have a consistent flow of ideas and concepts they can put through their development pipeline.

5 – Reduced time to market for new products or services – The feedback obtained from Co-creation Communities helps separate the most promising ideas, helping businesses take them to market quicker, giving them competitive advantage.

Many types of organisations can benefit from using Co-creation Communities, not only those who want to pick their customers’ brains. Membership networks can use Co-creation Communities to communicate between organisations and industry groups can use this to collaborate and come together to address systemic issues.

The future of your organisation doesn’t have to be foggy – by engaging your stakeholders through Co-creation Communities, it can be clear. A Co-creation Community, on its own won’t be the solution to all your problems, but making it part of your innovation strategy will amplify the scope of ideas obtained, to drive quicker and better results.

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