How to innovate efficiently with co-creation?
Why innovation is key?
Today, the world of business is more competitive than ever. On the one hand, consumers are constantly communicating with each other. They’re influencing each other’s interests, standards and expectations.
On another, companies from all over the world are competing for a piece of the global market. In order to stay relevant, companies need to innovate quickly and deliver efficiently. There is no time to waste in the race to the consumers. Innovation is the only way to keep up with competitors.
Where good ideas come from
Every innovation starts with an idea. However, good ideas usually come along with many bad and mediocre ideas. That means that stimulating good idea generation is the first step to innovate in the company and a very important one. Ideas come from all over the place, inspired by the behaviour of the consumers and conceived in the minds of the employees.
A lot of companies have already invested in technologies that gather information on the consumers, but that is only one part of the challenge. Part two is stimulating creativity and an innovative mindset in the employees — the true innovators.
What is an ideation workshop?
Employees have a mindset of their own. Unlike equity or capital, utilization of human resources is not so straight-forward. Fostering a progressive culture in the organization is the only way to ensure success.
Innovation needs to be stimulated, and the best way to do so is through ideation workshops. Unlike brainstorming exercises, which lead to quantity but not necessarily the quality of ideas, ideation workshops are focused intentionally on conceiving the best solution.
Through lateral thinking and new physical stimuli, the participants in the ideation workshop start looking at the situation from a new perspective.
The power of lateral thinking
Where and how you hold the workshop is imperative for the results. The human mind is a goldmine of ideas, but getting the good ones out is easier said than done.
Ideation workshops inspire lateral thinking through the change of setting and other physical stimuli. This means that your best bet is to get the employees out of office, get them some not so ordinary snacks and maybe play some interesting music. It is also very important who you invite to the workshop, in what way you structure it and how you communicate the objectives.
Ideally, everyone involved in the project should participate in the workshop. Also, it should always begin with a warm-up and try to define goals and discussed them immediately after.
Ideation workshops are so effective because they tap into the full creative potential of the participants. Lateral thinking happens naturally in a mind which is inspired and motivated. But also relaxed and comfortable. Ideation workshops induce the state of co-creation, where ideas build on each other and grow in potential exponentially.
How co-creation drives change
The desired outcome in any ideation workshop is always the same: one or a few feasible ideas that have a high potential for success and have the participants’ full support. The more individual perspectives involved in the creative process, the better.
The reason why is simple: the consumers are also a diverse group of people, unified by a few characteristics but very different in other ways. The more perspectives included in creating a concept, the bigger the chances it will be a success.
The most notable reason why co-creation is a very powerful tool in business is creating a mutual sense of unity and responsibility to realise the goal. People feel a personal connection to the ideas they helped forge, and are more likely to put in effort in their execution.
How to implement co-creation in your business?
Co-creation is an all-around great tool to innovate in the company. Practises which induce lateral thinking and co-creation is essential for any business’ that strive for growth and success. And, ideation workshops are one of the many ways to encourage the much desired company-wide innovative spirit.
The implementation of these processes is not as daunting as it seems, but it does require time and effort. However, for any company that hopes to endure the test of time, this transition is necessary.
Every organization is unique, so there is no one-fits-all formula. The best place to start is by combining leadership efforts with employee training, followed by the utilization of action teams instead of the traditional individual approach. Employees are resistant to change, so in implementing the transition, be mindful to also involve them.
Employees are the most precious resource in the organization. Investing in them is the only way to utilize their full potential. By involving innovation with co-creation in your business model, you are ensuring that your organization will continue to thrive in the years to come.