Co-creation is a management technique commonly used by designers to engage people in envisioning new services or products that have a shared value. It focuses on interactive relationships and customer experience to bring about a joint vision. At its simplest, it’s just the idea that all stakeholders in a project should contribute to the overall thinking around how to shape the project and the activities associated with it.
We group leaders can borrow from this proven methodology when trying to bring about change and to engage people in the process. Here are some techniques and tools you can use co-creation to engage your group in an initiative.
Using social media to get an opinion on how something can change and be redesigned is an easy and convenient option. Most people are on Facebook, for example, and you can use existing platforms to get opinions quickly and with little friction and also to validate the thoughts and processes emerging from discussions. It’s easy for most people to pop in and check on the discussion while they’re already checking Facebook. The downside is that it can be seen by anyone, so care needs to be taken with sharing sensitive material.
One of the best ways to use co-creation to develop a project is to use a focus group approach. Invite a small group of people to come together and discuss the project or approach to redesigning something. By using strong facilitation, you can move the conversation on so it achieves a result but also check out with the group whether what you are recording as an action is what was articulated in discussion. Focus groups are useful for bringing people to the project who do not use social media or the internet.
An effective way to keep a network of people together is to invite interested members to a co-creation workshop and get them participating in a project. Innovation workshops are facilitated discussions on the project itself and allow for collaboration and bouncing ideas around. Generally you’ll get engagement from people, and by using co-creation to develop the project, you’ll have shared views shaping it which builds buy-in and engagement. This style of workshop is usually a catalyst for other networking initiatives and ideas and bringing together people who would not have otherwise networked with each other to reach a common purpose.
You can tons of examples of and ideas for how to run a co-creation workshop by searching for the term on a search engine.
Sometimes an in-depth, one-to-one discussion is used to develop a project through co-creation. This can be used either to get expert opinion from a specialist or to understand public perception. Using this technique and discussing the project in-depth can reveal deep thoughts on a subject and highlight differences in opinions. To get the best out of a one-to-one interview approach, the questions need to be planned carefully to ensure that the right level of detail emerges.
Deep-diving on a project one-on-one with various members of your group (as well as people outside your group) can provide a level of detail not possible in group activities. Some people feel more comfortable in one-to-one environments, as well, so you’ll get ideas that may never have been raised in the group setting. Being engaged individually also helps build a sense of investment for each group member with whom you speak.
Online Forums and Panels
Online forums are another effective way of getting opinion for a project. By focusing questions, some good dialogue on shaping a project can be achieved. With some forums being private, it’s possible to focus the group and to share sensitive information that would not be appropriate to share on an open panel. The other advantage of using an online panel in co-creation is that it can bring in people who may not have the time to attend an in-person workshop. This enables outputs from multiple methods of engagement to be combined.
Your tools can be as simple as a private Google doc and Facebook group, neither of which cost a thing and both of which are familiar and easy to use for just about everybody. If your group is more digitally savvy, a Slack team specific channels for particular projects is another easy and free option that works just great.