The use of crowdsourcing by various groups, organizations, and businesses has grown dramatically over the years with many leading names embracing its cost effectiveness and almost limitless utility. The concept of tapping into the wisdom of the crowd, however, has inevitably created off-shoot methods based on the same concept. One increasingly popular variation, “co-creation”, is carving out its own niche in this field.
Since both crowdsourcing and co-creation involve some form of collaboration, the line separating the two can be blurred at times.
Co-creation is a collaborative initiative which operates like crowdsourcing by seeking information and ideas from a group of people. There is, however, one crucial difference. The call is not put to an open forum or platform but to a smaller group of individuals with specialised skills and talents.
These abilities are wide ranging and dependent on the needs of the client company – a pharmaceutical company might require the input of qualified chemists while a leading retail brand would call for more creative types.
Co-creation is distinctive in that the group works together on one concept rather than asking the client to pick a solution from a list of many. eYeka is an internationally based platform that specialises in the use of co-creation and has worked with over 100 of the world’s leading brands including Coca-cola, L’Oreal, and Unilever. The company attributes its success to co-creation’s ability to leverage the creativity of a specialized group.
As a leading provider, eYeka boasts of certain advantages co-creation holds over crowdsourcing. The company argues that co-creation encourages the group to think outside the box and devise more innovative solutions.
This is probably the difference that crowdsourcing does not quite achieve, the ability to work with a specialized group, capture the ideas of the many and work with them through different steps to ultimately create a better experience for the consumer. Crowdsourcing focuses on quantity and results in incremental changes, co-creation focuses on quality and produces innovative solutions.
Scott Teng, Regional Collaborative Planner for eYeka
So the main difference is that co-creation depends on the skills of a specialised group to work on one solution. Yet this does not seem too dissimilar to many crowdsourcing initiatives.
Platforms such as Ideamama bring together designers, marketers, and investors to work on a single project and turn it into a profitable venture. So where do these two differ other than in the scale of the crowd that is consulted?
Both crowdsourcing and co-creation have proven reputations for serving the needs of many major business and organisations. Both have ushered in a new wave of innovation. By using a smaller group co-creation might promise a certain amount of accountability and focus, however, both crowdsourcing and co-creation ultimately rely on one important factor: a community or crowd of skilled and talented individuals.
Do you think co-creation differs greatly from crowdsourcing, and if so, how? Let us know in the comments...