Online Co-creation and Co-design
Open design by online communities is becoming more common among companies that had previously been secretive about the products they create. Dutch tea manufacturer Pickwick, for example, used the online design and idea community RedesignMe.com to interact with an audience of external designers, marketers and consumers.
The goal was to collect input from stakeholders and lead users on the subject of innovative tea products. A challenge was presented to a community of about 3,500 people; the assignment was to ‘create innovative tea concepts that match Pickwick’s brand values’.
The exercise proved successful in terms of the number of ideas generated. 90 people participated actively over a period of six weeks, creating 198 tea-related concepts. The concepts ranged from new flavours to new packaging, as well as items to be sold or given away as a marketing gimmick.
Initially, 70 people created 125 concepts without further encouragement. Our research showed that the presence of community COMMUNITY managers from Pickwick positively influenced participation. Because many people received feedback directly from Pickwick, participation went up, inspiring participating users to send in one or two additional concepts.
In addition to creators, there were also commenters. Over 500 people commented on the challenge and the resulting concepts. Discussions between people led to numerous improvements in the concepts. Some ideas that only consisted of a short story from one user were converted into a 3D model by another user. Other concepts were perfected based on discussions between participants and Pickwick marketers.
By the end, the challenge had been viewed by over 20,000 people, most of which were passive readers (‘lurkers’). Although only about 2% of the total number of readers actively participated in the challenge, it is possible to state confidently that Pickwick generated significant publicity as the first Dutch producer of fast-moving consumer goods to participate in this level of online co-creation. CO-CREATION
The Pickwick Challenge paved the way for other food companies to take advantage of co-design through online communities. While co-creation does not guarantee that original concepts will be found, companies say it helps them step back and see the bigger picture in relation to their business.