Sunday, July 03, 2011

Building New - Together

Time for another book review. The Power of Co-Creation begins by analyzing the various co-creation engagements undertaken by Starbucks and Nike with their customers. The explanation of the collaborative design process through NikeId and the customer-experience focused Nike+ programs provide a sound foundation for the understanding of co-creation and its impact to the company's bottom line.

Venkat Ramaswamy & Francis Gouillart also articulate how value innovation can be enabled and sustained. It is made very clear that merely creating innovation teams or corporate intranets will not help. What is required is a framework comprising of engagement platforms (to capture the essence of customer & employee experiences) and extended customer-vendor networks. As you read further, you realize why the much ballyhooed innovation initiatives within organizations have failed over the years. Innovation is constant engagement, repeated hard work, incremental change (and NOT big bang as is often misunderstood) and highly inclusive. An organization that ignores any of these dimensions will simply just fail in its innovation journey.

The examples are rich and varied - Apple Stores & its i-Phone platform, SAP communities, Hindustan Unilever's Gang of Girls (Sunsilk shampoo), IBM, Toyota, ITC e-Choupal, Cisco, Infosys, Amazon Fresh, La Poste Retail of the French Postal Service, to name a few.

I did not glean much from the second half of the book where the authors explain how management processes within organization must also change for co-creation to succeed. The ideas outlined are excellent – co-creating management teams, co-creative engagement in operations, co-creation of strategy, and co-creating institutional change – however, the actions undertaken to enable management change through these ideas seemed to be no radically different than the ones explained in the first half. Would a sequel be in the offing to flesh this in more detail?

If Innovation is your journey, this book is a must-read. But make sure that you include a few others in your reading list as well.

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