The Importance of Chatting, Creating Curiosity and Co-Creation

In my last post I wrote about what I call the 5Cs…

Officially co-creation is defined as “ a strategy that brings together multiple parties to jointly produce a mutually valued outcome.” More importantly it’s the foundation block for creating co-designed community change. By really focusing on communities and by this I mean everybody, everything (i.e. non-profits, business etc.) you can broker new pilots and prototypes through the local communities willingness to share the workload of ideating, designing, incubating and marketing new “game-changing” prototypes.

The success of the Young Foundation’s AmplifyNI programme was down to how we as a team instilled a sense of creative tension and a collaborative approach leading to co-creation of some great social innovations. Many of these have now been scaled and won awards such as Kippie been listed as a Top 50 Nesta/Guardian New Radicals in 2018 .

I often get asked by groups and social innovators “what platforms should we use?” Well, co-creation can and will take many forms: informal, formal, online, offline etc. The main ones I describe below:

  1. Online platfoms: new technologies (crowdsourcing, no code etc.) have enabled online co-creation platforms to gain momentum. The one clear advantage of online platforms is that multiple users can access them. However, there can also be limitations due to lack of access to suitable hardware or internet.
  2. Community Interactions (Group co-creation sessions): Any meeting or workshop can be turned into a co-creation session (i.e. brainstorming, prototyping etc.). All that is required is someone to have basic facilitation skills and access to co-creation tool-kits. A community can become truly co-creative if people can fully engage in co-creation activities when a new social or environmental challenge crops up. Effective facilitation in these community group sessions will enable people, organisations and social innovators to switch between divergent and convergent thinking leading to what I call “idea sparks” that can be pared down to the ones that are most desirable, feasible and viable. From here the most promising “idea sparks” can be built out on a social business model canvas.
  3. Conversations (Dialogue): To me the most important co-creation platform, normally at a micro-scale. Co-creation can take the form of continually interacting through conversations. This can be a simple as feedback loops (reframing), stimulating improvement and connecting stakeholders through informal dialogue. Through effective discussions and these informal conversations key stakeholders can find common ground, shared values and like the larger community interactions precious “idea sparks” that may/can be the catalysts for future co-creation or give a pilot/prototype the traction it requires to scale or become sustainable.

Finally it’s important not to think about co-creation as a isolated event, but a multi-step roadmap and feedback loop in which the communities you’re working with can fully embrace a collaborative mindset harnessing the power of collective knowledge and inclusive social innovation.