Innovative companies have long recognized that failure can be an important step on the way to success. Brands are told to “quicken the pace of innovation”, “try new things” and “don’t be afraid to fail”. But these days there’s little room for failure: the stakes are high and there’s more pressure than ever for brands to innovate. Customers have spoken and it’s time for brands to listen—to be customer-centric.
So how can brands challenge themselves to innovate and to try new things without wasting time and money?
Co-creation can help you innovate and sometimes, fail faster. This innovative approach is based on principles of Improvisation and System 1 / System 2 thinking and brings brands and customers together to ideate and build out promising new ideas, products, and services. Co-creation inserts customers directly into the conversation—not through a survey or by listening from behind the glass, but by working right next to you. Our approach lets you collaborate with your customers to decide what the issues are, where the pain points occur, where joy happens and where the opportunities lie. Then together you build that future.
Technological advances, including social media, 24/7 news, online reviews and the resulting rapid word-of-mouth, have put customers in the driver seat. It’s no longer brands talking to customers, rather, it’s a two-way conversation. Brands need to listen intently, be accessible and available, and authentically work with their consumers, instead of working in isolation, creating products and services that often don’t address customers’ needs, or messaging that misses the mark.
Co-creation eliminates the guessing game in an energetic and productive day or ½ day workshop. Facilitated by an expert moderator, a group of cross-functional stakeholders together with customers, collaborate at an offsite, creative space. Pre-work is assigned to upskill and orient participants to the topic. Using divergent and convergent methods, in plenary, small group and individual exercises, you jointly explore the relevant topic, ideate scores of new ideas and begin to build out the future, together.
At CMB, our Innovation team has successfully led co-creation sessions for large CPG brands, insurance clients, academic institutions, hospitality execs and more. We have explored food, beverages, loyalty, apparel, deductibles and education with Gen Z, Millennials, Moms, sneaker heads, professors, underwriters, patients, and probably your customer.
Want to see co-creation in action? Check out this recent video of a workshop we facilitated in NYC for a global leader in hospitality.
Kathy Ofsthun is the Vice President of Qualitative Strategy + Innovation. She is a facilitator and RIVA trained moderator and has co-created with clients and their customers in the Hospitality, CPG, Insurance and Academic industries. Her Twitter handle is @ShopperMRX as Kathy loves to shop, hoarding shoes from heels to hiking boots.