There are many ways to go about co-creating, and which to choose depends on the challenges and objectives at hand. Here are a few notes to keep in mind as you go through the process.
1. A shared vision and mission
It is important to ensure that all stakeholders involved in the co-creation process ultimately share the same vision of what success would look like. This is especially true for ideas that begin with social impact in mind, but that can easily be pivoted for commercial value. Putting in place methods of safeguarding against complete mission distortion right from the start is key. A great way of doing this is to imagine many different ‘success’ scenarios and discuss how each stakeholder would see their role in each one. This will make it clear from the start whether incentives are aligned or not, rather than discovering this half way into the process.
2. Choosing your co-creation partner
When deciding whom to co-create with, finding the right partner is key. Look for a strong team that has the necessary skills to shoot the lights out, even when you are not around. Look for a team who have operational expertise, strategic skills and can manage stakeholder relationships.
3. Be clear about roles and responsibilities
Clarifying roles and responsibilities from the start is key. A great way of doing this is creating a roles and responsibilities journey map covering the entire lifecycle of the idea. Start by first identifying what skill sets are needed at what stages. Then assign who would be best suited and assign responsibilities accordingly. This method is also great for identifying when the core team may have to bring in outside expertise.
4. Harnessing multiple lenses
Try to encourage looking at a problem or opportunity from different angles and lenses. This could mean taking on a facilitatory role to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard. For example, guard against stakeholders thinking in silos and only providing contributions linked to their area of expertise. Encourage lateral thinking and make sure that everyone gives their input, not just those who are naturally more vocal
5. Hold back
Don’t step in just because you can. While involved in the process of co-creation, be cognizant of not taking on more just because you know more. You may need to play an active role initially in building, guiding and managing the team. Try to do this in a way that does not create dependency on you. Identify the natural leader in the group and support them in this role as far as possible.