Acceleration Economy’s Digital CIO Summit Event is taking place from April 4-6. Venkat Ramaswamy, a professor of marketing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, as well as an author and expert in co-creation, will be a featured speaker at the three-day digital event.
00:51 — After introducing Ramaswamy, Bob asks him about “what’s going on in the field” of co-creation today. What do business leaders need to understand about this powerful, but complex notion of co-creation?
01:13 — Co-creation describes the joint process of creating value and leveraging resources and opportunities, notes Ramaswamy. 20 years ago, when the term was coined, Ramaswamy noticed the emergence of new, interactive tools that allowed business leaders to come together and create more effectively. In today’s world, “products themselves have become platforms with a whole host of ecosystems of services,” he says.
02:04 — Ramaswamy details “what is happening now.” There is a massive shift in approach to innovation, “starting with the market.” He says he calls it the “market-to-product fit.” Similar to what is happening in the automotive industry, industry leaders are more focused on creating compelling and connected experiences that go beyond the traditional roles of a car.
03:00 — Ramaswamy notes that there are currently “three core operations happening”:
- One on the customer side
- One on the supply chain side
- One within the internal organization
He says these three core operations should synchronize.
03:47 — Bob agrees that co-creation approaches should start with customers at the center, and be built around them. He asks Ramaswamy if this is a trend that more companies are starting to notice.
05:04 — Decades ago, companies would “start with the product, take it to market,” and tweak it afterward. A lot of that has served the public well over the last decade, but this notion is starting to go. Why? Because customers have gotten used to having interactive experiences — interactive technologies have changed the way “we live, work, and play.” Co-creation is more than just being customer-centric; it has evolved to reflect the creation of new experiences, meaning there must be collaborative efforts between the market and the product side. In this sense, the product has become the platform.
06:11 — Ramaswamy predicts that the next era of co-creation, as the tech industry “intensifies,” will be about taking an “experience-forced perspective.”
07:40 — If business leaders wish to transform their organizations to “bring in the market-product fit,” they must start, paradoxically, with the “organization-product fit.” What are the organizing structures that will help people become more collaborative? How do you rapidly bring those market insights into the process and actually have the customer as a collaborator? Ramaswamy notes that this can be a challenge.
08:33 — Bringing market insights into the product development process can be an enormous challenge because “it’s almost like the market is an ecosystem, the organization is an ecosystem, and the product is an ecosystem.” Many companies today are trying to co-create, but co-creation efforts can be accelerated if companies have already modernized their businesses. If organizations can make “modest shifts in that direction” and build new capabilities for extreme levels of co-creation, they will have more success in their collaboration efforts.
10:55 — Bob suggests that in some ways, CEOs need to prioritize co-creation within their businesses, making it a mandate for change and for the future. He asks Ramaswamy if this is a fair thought.
11:50 — “Oh, absolutely,” Ramaswamy responds. He references the example of Ford, whose new CEO is bringing forth levels of co-creation and innovation into the company’s products. He says co-creation requires CEO commitment and the digital infrastructure that allows for this type of co-creation to take place.
12:55 — Additionally, Ramaswamy notes that “creating an entity that is orchestrating this” co-creation is valuable because it keeps track of where and how different shareholders are involved in this process. This “entity” would be responsible for promoting continuous innovation.
14:50 — Bob agrees that “the bigger thing now” is around the goal of creating experiences.
15:28 — Those who wish to learn more about Venkat Ramaswamy can visit his website.
For more insights from leaders of technology and modernization, register here for your free pass to Acceleration Economy’s Digital CIO Summit, taking place April 4-6, 2023.