The Danish government wants to put Denmark high on the list of innovative, knowledge-rich nations. If we are to achieve this we shall have to get moving right away, but the big question is how do we prepare ourselves for growth? A number of Danish companies with a focus on design have obtained positive results by using a new approach to innovation – co-creation. Co-creation means that instead of designing FOR people, you design WITH people.
As we all know, the world is becoming more and more complex. If we are to meet such major challenges as the financial crisis, the environment and climate change, we shall have to collate knowledge from many different fields and apply it in a completely new way. Otherwise we stand to miss the innovation train. Many design-driven companies are already meeting these challenges by using a new form of open innovation, but in general Danish companies and organisations could do much better.
But why co-creation? Co-creation can help stimulate growth. It is all about getting across the idea that diversity creates innovation. You do not move forward by just doing ‘business as usual’, but by constantly challenging yourself. Those companies that manage actively to involve users in the creation of new products tend to hit the jackpot, in the sense that are handed a short cut to knowledge about user behaviour, which makes it easier for them to understand the complexities of the global market. At the same time, co-creation makes its own demands: companies must be able to manage differences and diversity and to let go of controls and habitual patterns of thought. This in turn calls for management backing and the will to change. (more…)