Creation of Co-Creation

24Sep08

Co-creation is a new word. It is not even listed in wordcount which tracks and ranks words. The word customization  ranks as  61716 most used word  (did not know that I knew 60,000 words).

Now, this word Co-Creation is clearly new. Who created this word ?  Was it  co-created ?

Aren’t all the words we use co-created ? Isn’t Jazz co-created ? It seems that co-creation has been with us for a very long time, longer than customization, but no body seemed to have bothered to give it a name. No body seemed to have noticed it. Perhaps there was no need for such a meaningless word, as everything that was created was co-created.

I first heard the word “Co-Creation” speaking to folks at Philips Design about some of the Second Life technologies we are developing. Philips Design’s pioneering efforts in this area is something that I keenly follow in  Second Life.

Customization seems to be a more useful word, but is often confused with co-creation. The difference between the two was discussed by  Dew Hendriks

For me, co-creation is directly correlated to customization.  To the extent that the company and the customer share in the production, is the extent that it is co-created.  If the customer were allowed complete freedom to design independently of the company, then is would no longer be co-creation but simply creation.  For co-creation to exists there has to be some level of customization of pre-existing ideas, tools, etc., otherwise you just have creation.

So, Co-Creation seems to imply a shared production platform with pre-existing ideas, tools, etc. But then isn’t that the same as customization ? so what then is the difference ?

A much more comprehensive view is presented by Real Networks – Co-Creation as a spectrum, based on:

  1. Who controls the process
  2. Who is involved
  3. Who benefits
  4. What is the legacy

co-creation spectrum

This is a clearer view, but remains an early attempt to define something that is still evolving.

Co-Creation is a  newly minted business buzzword word relevant only to the contexts of industrial production being reshaped by the internet. It is more of a description of a phenomena – recently discovered and baptized by luminaries such as CK Prahalad, who  defines it as a process by which “value is co-created by the firm and the consumer”.

All this is still Jargon. I have rarely heard people talking about co-creation. Have you ?

The next blog article will discuss why.

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3 Responses to “Creation of Co-Creation”


  1. 1 “Anything that can be personalized will be personalized” » 2dn Degree Co-Creation
  2. 2 FLUID FORMS » Blog Archive » The Future of Mass Customization, DIY, Fabbing and Co
  3. 3 CASINO

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