The editorial of Selling Power magazine, October issue asks "How do You Engage Customers to Co-Create?"
"Today's customers, writes Gerhard Gschwandtner, want to be personally courted and digitally engaged. They want to have a direct say in what gets produced. This means letting go of central control and asking the brightest minds across the globe to be your advisors. [...] The trend of co-creation is not limited to advertising, marketing or manufacturing. It also applies to selling."
I'm hearing the word being used in mainstream conversations more and more. Jennifer Rice at Mantra Brand Consulting salvaged a series of posts at Corante Brandshift on co-creation in her blog. She writes:
"Co-creation is one of those trends that will have a major impact on businesses in the coming months and years... it's a result of the emerging networked economy: a grassroots, bottom-up, self-organizing way of living and doing business."
And gets into some examples of deep brand co-creation. To put it in the words Cathy Mosca used on tompeters.com during her recent interview with Mavericks at Work authors Polly LaBarre and Bill Taylor on creating a peer-to-peer social software, "it's constant exposure. Understanding that you can share everything and that sharing everything doesn't kill you." She's talking about Toronto-based Goldcorp Inc. Chairman and CEO Rob McEwen's extraordinary challenge to the world's geologists featured in the book: we'll show you our data online if you'll tell us where we need to look for gold next.
This sounds a lot closer to the definition I read of crowdsourcing, a process where businesses faced with hard challenges choose to tap into the collective wisdom of millions of amateurs around the world to come up with a solution. Bill and Polly cite other examples in their book: Proctor & Gamble's InnoCentive, a web-based community that matches top scientists to relevant R&D challenges facing leading companies around the globe.
What these two examples have in common is the heavy utilization of the web and digital technology. Would it be correct to say that co-creation is a term used in a more intimate or in-person relationship while crowdsourcing is used to describe open source online projects? Are the two terms in fact synonymous? What examples of co-creation did you observe or experience in your life?