Product Co-Creation

Declining or stagnant membership…..Mature products and services delivering less to the bottom line…..Harder to attract and keep volunteer leaders…..Costly delivery of products and services…..Ever increasing direct and indirect competition…..

You may be familiar with these signs. They occur more often among associations today than ever and we can expect only more of the same. Unless we recognize what is causing this deterioration and adapt new methods to create “essential value” and share it.

By “essential value” I mean something of value your members or customers feel they can’t do without. Or to put it another way, delivering a product or service that answers the question you put to your customer….”what keeps you up at night?”

Increasingly, the old methods of measuring a moment in time of customer or member need, expectation or desired outcome via surveys, focus groups, etc are not capable on their own to develop essential product and service experiences. Such intelligence gathering is too slow, too removed, too often misinterpreted, and too old to be useful in the design and delivery of products and services in a “real time”, customized world.

As we saw in Case 4 Change end users of products and services are increasingly more demanding not only in the end product’s ability to deliver value, but also in how the production process engage them across the entire spectrum of product and service development.

Today’s leading innovators from global companies like toymaker Lego to small Canadian software product outfits like Cambrian House (above), are leveraging the magic of “peer production” (volunteer contributed content) and “crowdsourcing” (paid contributor content) to create massively distributed idea, design, production and marketing factories for the global knowledge economy.

We are witnessing the evolution of a new means of production from the previous century’s command and control structure to a more networked system where people outside the organization can contribute valuable intellectual capacity with internal employees. They collaborate together to create essential value that becomes customized products or services which in turn they buy and evangelize with unprecedented vigor.

Here is a fun overview of the value proposition and investor video pitch of just such a enterprise.

In this section we profile organizations who are reshaping how mass customized products and services are being created and delivered to market using peer production and crowdsourcing. Just some of the players we’ll learn about include:

  • Cambrian House – an exciting new company from Canada where the entire product development process from Ideation, Business Case, Design & Production, Distribution, and Marketing is driven by “crowdsourcing”
  • CrowdSpirit – use crowds to develop and bring to market tangible, inexpensive, electronic devices such as CD players, joysticks for video games, and Web cams
  • Gannett – YES That Gannett the news organization – has plans to change its newsroom to take advantage of peer production, putting readers to work as watchdogs, whistle-blowers, and investigators

If you have other favorites maybe even your own organization, share them here.


One response

10 05 2008

Hi: Thought you might be interested in a Crowdsourcing event at Stanford on May 20th, 2008 sponsored by VLAB. Jeff Howe from Wired who coined the term crowdsourcing will be moderating a panel with VCs and crowdsourcing companies like Cambrian House.

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