The relationship between companies that produce and distribute goods and the consumers who purchase and use those goods is often portrayed as "us vs. them". While technology provides the tools needed for communication and collaboration, company-consumer collaboration is often met with skepticism. Is it possible for companies and the users of their products to form mutually beneficial relationships that create value? The concept of value co-creation attempts to answer that question and it is the editorial theme of the November and December issues of the OSBR.
Co-creation: New pathways to value reminds us that "It is...the quality of the relationship that companies form with and facilitate among their customers, which will determine how knowledge is created, shared and transferred". The authors in this issue introduce us to who is involved in these relationships, their motivations, and techniques.
We encourage readers to share articles of interest with their colleagues, and to provide their comments either online or directly to the authors. We hope you enjoy this issue of the OSBR.
Value co-creation examines the practices customers and companies use to co-create value. These practices affect the specification, design, production and manufacturing, distribution and support of the companies' products and services. Co-creation enables a company to better satisfy customers' demands for personalized products, services and experiences. The term value co-creation is broadly used and needs to be further clarified. This clarification is a challenging task and needs the cooperation of both business scholars and practitioners.
Value co-creation is an emerging concept and the body of literature associated with it is growing, but scarce. The growing interest in co-creation signals the emergence of a new semantic wave in management, marketing and innovation research. This perception makes the ongoing discussions an easy target for premature theoretical explorations leading to uncertainty and, sometimes, confusion. There is also an unconscious temptation to deal with the lack of contextual clarity by re-dressing well known concepts and paradigms and by mechanically refurbishing existing frameworks. Such approaches do not help in clearly identifying the need for a new terminology, new frameworks and new fields of research exploration. Due to the importance of co-creation and the large number of articles we received, we have dedicated two issues to this topic: November and December, 2009.
Kim op den Kamp from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands summarizes the results of the first study of business models involving corporate-driven co-creation communities. Four major benefits of online communities are identified: i) new product ideas; ii) customer communications; iii) customer feedback on ideas and applications; and iv) new knowledge.
Stephen Allen et al. provide the first quantitative study of the components of value co-creation. Their research identifies four co-creation components: i) learning from dialog; ii) resource sharing; iii) personalization; and iv) co-production.
Aron Darmody from the Schulich School of Business at York University illustrates how users' creativity can be harnessed.
Tore Kristensen examines various aspects of the motivational and transformational processes in personal co-creation experiences. He explores the nature of the personal transformations taking place among ordinary people as consumers and users of cultural institutions.
Anna Kirah from CPH Design in Copenhagen argues that customer activism, experimentation, connectivity and knowledge enables people to become active participants in the value creation process.