Be reminded, it is co-creation that we should understand?

7. Jun 2010


Sudhanshu Rai  8th June 2010


Hello again! In my previous blog I coined the idea of interactive globalization and speculated a bit about the nature of interactive globalization and how we have focused for too long on the nature and consequence of globalization and to some extent forgot the idea of the term “interactive”. In this blog I hope to expand the idea of interactive globalization and then move to the idea of co-creation and discuss how we in Denmark are well poised to take advantage of this fourth stage of interactive globalization, if only we are able to conseave globalization not as a zero sum gain but as an instance of shared prosperity brought about by rapid knowledge creation facilitated by interactive globalization. 

Well, to what extent can interactive globalization help us understand current undercurrents that we are all experiencing? The central driver for interactive globalization is the harmonization of the internet and the emerging but still disjointed shared values of the global citizenry. This feeling of a community is increasingly influencing our world view and enabling a better appreciation of cultural diversity. To my mind this will have two positive nock on consequence for all of us, first, we will increasingly acknowledge knowledge as being the key value creator and not technology per say, second, we will increasingly want to harmonize education across the globe to help tap into the emerging pool of global knowledge help sustain our way of life. Both of these will shift the focus of globalization primarily of goods and services to that of experience and knowledge creation.  The challenge of course is how do small countries like Denmark tap into this global pool of knowledge and continue to be at the cutting edge of knowledge innovation.

Let’s look around us and see whether we have structured ourselves in a manner through which we are poised to take advantage of this emerging knowledge base. Well lets see, starting from how we structure our organizations. We tend to have flat organizations, consensus building decision making aperatous, less dependent on the knowledge of one but on the diversity in knowledge of all participating. Then we instill in our social actors the ability to work in groups, engage in network building and be rooted in critical appreciation of knowledge. These basics in my opinion will form the core value system of the emerging idea of interactive globalization and Hey Presto; we are well poised to take advantage of it already. The question is how?

This is where the co-creation mode comes into focus.  In my previous blog I stated that there were four stages of interactive globalization; the Y2k Phase (1990-1999), the body shopping phase (1995-2003) the outsourcing or the collaboration phase (2004-and counting) and the co-creation phase (2009-and counting) . In each of the phases specific business models and assumptions of the markets were conceptualized. So also the in the co-creation phase the emphasis will increase be on building disruptive technologies and the creation of future markets for goods and services. In the co-creation phase there the emphisis will be to create systems and mechanisms on enabling cross functional work to enable more frequently, leadership will be redefined as distributed and focusing on disruption rather only on the bottom line. The organization is likely to get smaller but more distributed and there is likely to be a proliferation of co-creation labs that would probably be at the centre of all firms’ innovative strategy. Further knowledge focused at co-creating disruptive innovation will go hand in hand with co-creation disruptive business models. In effect the co-creation of new products and services will take place simultaneously with the co-creation of business model to support that specific product and service. Business models will no longer be generic but specific driven by information technology. 

Specifically co-creation of disruptive innovation for future markets is aligned to the idea of interactive globalization for several reasons; first the focus of co-creation and of interactive globalization is on the nature and quality of knowledge, Second the focus in both is on enabling diversity of the knowledge base and facilitating its interaction, third both focus on knowledge creation through intensive dialogue of knowledge bases and fifth both take cultural diversity as a strength and finally both focus on creation and benefits for all participating entities.

While that may be the case we have a few challenges ahead of us, we are continuing to see globalization as a zero sum gain, those who are cheaper gain and those who are more expensive lose, so goes the narrative. We need to arrest this narrative and instill a new path, one in which the shift is away from gains and losses to knowledge creation and gains for all based on the nature of knowledge possessed and shared. We need to study co-creation as a concrete phenomena and develop mechanisms of how best to enable this process to produce results and finally we need to understand co-creation as yet another process building on the experiences from previous stages, which a greater emphasis on cross domain interaction predicated on rapid knowledge creation.

What are the implications for firms? Firms should be on the lookout for opportunities for engaging in co-creation and firms should try and shift on new knowledge creation as a key output as opposed to focusing on new technologies. In effect I am arguing for a firm that understands each individual, wants to serve them individually and be at the cutting edge of technology using the co-creation mode.