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The Rules of Engagement

Authors: Ramaswamy, Venkat

Date: Third Quarter 2009

Tags: social media, dialogue, access, risk, transparency

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The plethora of social networking tools available today, from Facebook to YouTube to blogs, attests to the new paradigm known as "co-creation," which the author first described several years ago and now says is poised to take the world by storm. Co-creation is the process by which products, services and experiences are developed jointly by companies and their stakeholders, opening up a whole new world of value. Though increasingly being employed by certain progressive organizations, the author finds that individuals appear to be more ready than most enterprises to embrace what is fast defining the landscape of the future. To be ready, firms must stop thinking of individuals as mere passive recipients of value, to whom they have traditionally delivered goods and services. Instead, firms must seek to engage people as active co-creators of value on every front. For large, established organizations, it starts by co-creating a unique employee experience inside the organization. Then you can cultivate a co-creative engagement platform based on four basic building blocks: Dialogue, Access, Risk-Reward Assessment and Transparency (DART). Practiced effectively, your organization can grow into a mighty tree, from which all kinds of fruit will be ripe for the taking.

Tools and Frameworks:
Shows how to construct a co-creative engagement platform following the DART model.

Examples Cited:
Club Tourism, Sumerset houseboats, Nike, Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL)

Research Basis:
The author first identified the roots of co-creation in the late '90s. His award-winning book, The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers (with C.K. Prahalad, Harvard Business Press, 2004) introduced co-creation as a revolutionary business concept. He has helped organizations across the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America conceive and execute new business ideas through co-creation and build management capabilities for co-creation inside their organizations.

About the Author:
Venkat Ramaswamy is professor of marketing and Hallman Fellow of Electronic Business at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

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