October the 2nd attending the launch of Cognizant’s Co Creation Center in Sweden—a fascinating insight into how firms collaborate and accelerate innovation. Even though the term “co-creation” suffers from the dreaded consulting speak, I cannot think of a better way to describe what’s on offer. The center offers a compelling vision into how firms innovate, manage and monetize across customers, suppliers and employees.
So, why Sweden you ask? Well, there’s a real appetite for this kind of collaboration in the country and across Scandinavia. Sweden didn’t really suffer a downturn and continues to outperform its European peers; The economy gets consistently ranked as one of the most innovative around—Sweden ranks second in the global innovation index of 2013 (behind Switzerland while the UK came third…). Also, living together in such a small corner of Europe means the Scandinavian’s have had to figure out how to work together even though stereotypes between the nations persist (watch an episode of the impressive “co-created” TV thriller The Bridge (Bron) to see these in action).
Attendees to the co-creation centre’s open day wanted to understand more about the mechanisms that open up their business to partners and customers and even inwards to their own employees. Key questions put to the center focused on how to get the voice of the customer integrated into new product or service development or how to recognize the innovations that truly count and how to manage the process of innovation through the business. The center does a good job of explaining. It set around four key information pillars, each offering cases, digital displays and interactive tools visitors can see and touch to understand the pieces needed to make co-creation a reality.
The center featured many compelling examples from Boeing subsidiary Jeppesan to Lego and Nike. Jeppesan involved pilots in the creation of its Mobile Flitedeck, a paperless navigation tool for the ipad that pilots now use when preparing to fly. Lego’s product development process is genius because it puts customer voice at the center of what it does. Lego “listens” to suggestions from its social community and markets new products to a captive audience. Any idea submitted through Lego’s social media channel that gets more than 100,000 likes moves automatically into product development. If successful then Lego pays the originator 1% of net sales. I am convinced my 9 year old can make me rich...
What the center really offered was a solid vision into how SMAC (Social Mobile Analytics and Cloud) based technologies continues to spark co-creation. One comment I would add is how the concept of Code Halos will accelerate the co-creation process. Seeing your customers, partners, products and even your employees as rich sources of information—or code—radically shifts how co-creation works. This is exactly what Nike did with their fuel band that was featured as the center. The wristband keeps a track of the steps taken, calorie burned and how much “NikeFuel” points the owner accumulates. The wearer decides how active they want to be by setting a daily NikeFuel goal. The device creates a halo of health and activity data that will revolutionize how Nike designs, sells and create a differentiated customer experience through its products AND partners….co-creation in action.
One comment from an attendee captured the spirit of the event: “Stimulating my thinking in a less structured way gets me thinking in a different way. And you’ve done that.” Job done.