on November 24, 2013 Conversations About Innovation

5 Key Drivers for Successful CoCreation


CoCreation has a place in everything we do, from innovation to product development. Our teams at Batterii have led direct initiatives to:

  • Drive the re-invention of a global category (See: Nike Athletic Training)
  • Establish new methods to get to the heart of consumer insights
  • Shift team behaviors to establish a Culture of Innovation in a global company

Whether or not you feed into the hype of CoCreation, the effects of team collaboration are not trivial; and have billion dollar implications on business.

We have learned many lessons at Batterii as to what it really takes to drive successful CoCreation initiatives. If you simply want to understand CoCreation by definition you can read Wikipedia. We want to get to the heart of how to make CoCreation happen logistically within an organization, and we can tie success to five key drivers.

For the purposes of clarity, these steps focus on Consumer CoCreation, as a means to discover new products with the help of your audience. However, all types of teams may take something away here.

1. Get Stakeholder Buy-in on the Entire Process – No matter what type of project you may use CoCreation to complete, getting your whole team to sync is extremely important. Imagine having a team of 50 people involved in something with no clear path of where to go or what to do. If you don’t even know what success looks like, how will you know when you have it? Outlining every step of the process is vital, and why you will need to get leadership buy-in from the beginning. Too often, companies receive solutions from the team, and then restructure those ideas to tell a different story. This defeats the entire creative process, and diminishes the future participation of the team.

2. Engage the Right People – CoCreation does not have to happen solely within a focus group of your target audience. Look for the people within and outside of your organization who orient themselves a bit differently with the world. Combining a group of creative problem solvers, consumers with unique needs, artists who experiment daily, and team motivators will give your brand a fresh perspective on challenges. Remember to involve visual designers as well as analytical thinkers. Words only tell half of any story. Using people who communicate through visuals breathe life into your projects.

Hear Chad Talk About CoCreation in an Interview with FEI


3. Tools to Engage from Inspiration to Ideation – As you work within CoCreation teams – many across great distances, time zones and states of mind – it's important to have a collaborative way to stay in constant communication. We tried different platforms over the years, and grew tired of jail breaking someone else's technology to fit our needs. So we did what any rational team would do ... create our own platform. Looking back maybe that wasn’t the most rational choice, but we needed a way to engage within two distinct forms of communication: Continuous Sharing & Time-Boxed Events. Batterii offers both functionalities, helping all types of organizations to develop a Culture of Innovation where teams can collect inspiration (with the Mobile App & Web Clipper), share inspirations within teams, ideate and then align to the best solutions. We believe this is the future of efficient business.

4. Utilize the Creative Particle Theory – Calling this a theory may be giving it more formality than is needed, but it's important to understand one main point. Good Inputs = Good Outputs. We focus our early CoCreation activities around identifying good data points (referred to as particles), we begin by capturing inspiring particles, and sharing them with our team. Our goal is to connect the fitting points into an innovative solution. Sometimes this results in a crazy mash-up that sparks only discussion and learning.

Nike Creative Lab with BatteriiThe picture to the left is a Creative Lab that we ran for Nike. We asked athletes to build their optimal vision of themselves through combining different toy parts. What was learned through these creations held a lot of power, and were used as a springboard to create the future of Athletic Training at Nike.

5. Purpose: Create a Meaningful Reason to Believe – The often forgotten driver of innovation is outlining a clear value proposition for every person involved. Why should 30 brilliant minds spend eight weeks working with you? Why would a designer share his or her inspirations with strangers? Why would business leaders open up about problems in their organization? These reasons matter, and can be the most powerful drivers behind CoCreation. The most valuable lesson that I have learned is to constantly strive to teach something new. Knowledge really is power. It gives individuals on your team a sense of belonging and direct connection to the higher purpose, so much so that sharing what inspires us will soon become second nature.

So what do you take away from all of this?

  • Get buy-in from your entire team on desired activities & results for CoCreation projects
  • Engage a Creative Class of people who turn opportunities into solutions
  • Find a tool that provides continuous collaborative communication from inspiration to ideation
  • Good Inputs = Good Outputs
  • Give people a reason to believe in your project by teaching something new