Co-creation – the challenge of together

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The MAIM Class of 2014 shares their individual experiences of innovation, in the lead up to their Degree Show, Exploiting Chaos: Innovation in the Making. The Networkers connect and empower individuals to amplify the collective effort needed to create groundbreaking innovations – Khin Tye jumped straight in the action to explore the energy of co-creation.


Co-creation is not just a buzzword, it is very real and very much alive. I was curious about how co-creation is practiced in different fields from business, design, the arts to technology in order to identify strategic opportunities for innovation which would be profitable, fun, engaging and developmental for everyone involved.


To fully understand what co-creation really means, I researched the practices of co-creation in broad range of fields. During a placement with the creative strategic consultancy Sense Worldwide I had a chance to get a glimpse into the tools and practices used in a face-to-face interactive co-creation workshop. I expanded my research by learning how OpenIDEO used technology to create a wider networked and individualistic reach in co-creation. And through participation in Mozilla’s annual open source technology event – the Mozilla Festival – I joined the ‘Maker Movement’ alongside 1,500+ webmakers who aim to keep the web innovative and open to everyone.  Having identified gaps in the business, marketing, and technology disciplines, I finally explored the aesthetics and the environment for co-creation in other fields such as participatory theatre, architecture, and a permaculture spiritual community.


I discovered that the notion of idea generation within co-creation as a tool for innovation needs to evolve towards an iterative ‘maker’ co-creation process where all participants are co-making and co-designing services, and prototyping self-made products, while retaining a fun, creative and intellectual challenge and learning experience. The value and feasibility of innovation is very much about making – and the Maker Movement provides the right spirit to depart from the ‘shared group knowledge’ and to embrace ‘shared thinking and doing’.


To help with this, innovation management can introduce human centric ‘design-thinking’ types of innovation platforms for facilitating the co-creation online and off-line. Participants will ‘learn by doing’ and also develop themselves via new skills and new relationships, that, in turn, will lead to a more productive, fulfilling culture that boosts organizational creativity and empowers aspiring innovators by giving them a heightened sense of ownership.


Co-creation is not just a tool to realize ideas, it is a philosophy of work that has the ability to transform business relationships and the very culture of an organization bold enough to engage with it – but it is not easy to do so.


Co-creation questions traditional organizational structures, the relations of power and introduces its very own complexities of global well-being and ethics – challenges that require new skills and a novel sense of working together that is still rare. Are you ready for these challenges? Is your organization ready, too?


To learn more about the challenges of co-creation, and Khin’s research journey, please join us at the MA Innovation Management upcoming Degree Show, Exploiting Chaos: Innovation in the Making, from the 18-22 June.