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Co-creation Tool in the Fuzzy Front End

Customer voice research can be greatly enhanced since sensor data enables getting insights into how customers use products in their daily routines, which was previously not possible.
  Author: Hendrik Mischo, University of Twente P.O. Box 217, 7500AE Enschede The Netherlands


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This is Hendrik Mischo's thesis; it contains some very insightful, interesting observations plus connection to great research resources.

Hendrik Mischo is a technology and startup enthusiast. He recently graduated from the University of Twente in the Netherlands with a degree in International Business Administration where he specialized in Digital Marketing. With his thesis he analysed how the Internet of Things could be used as a tool for co-creation.

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When I asked Hendrik how self-learning might fit in, he provided this great response;

In my opinion, self-learning machines/buildings/systems have great potential to positively influence the way companies innovate. A company's ability to integrate external sources of innovation, particularly the customer, is critical especially in the early stages of the innovation process. Co-creation is an approach whereby companies involve their customers in the innovation process in order to jointly create value. Sensor data generated from connected devices displays great potential to enhance co-creation and accordingly, performance in the innovation process. When smart, connected devices gather data about consumers and improve themselves, this would mean that to some extent co-creation happens automatically/passively and that machines initiate the innovation process. This is a new approach.


In the Internet of Things (IoT), everyday objects provide unprecedented levels of information about products and customers that can be used to improve products and the customer experience. This makes customers co-creators in the innovation process. Particularly, in the fuzzy front end of the innovation process, customer input can play a vital role. This paper introduces a conceptual model on the value of sensor data for different front-end activities that require customer knowledge. The model is the result of a critical literature review. It was empirically tested by means of an expert questionnaire with 14 respondents. From the results, four main conclusions were drawn. First, front-end activities aiming to obtain market intelligence such as the preliminary market assessment and market research can be improved with sensor data only if it is successfully integrated with conventional methods and information. Second, the IoT may enable transferring software development principles to the physical world supporting the development of technically more sophisticated products and devices. Third, customer voice research can be greatly enhanced since sensor data enables getting insights into how customers use products in their daily routines, which was previously not possible. This also generates deeper levels of insights into latent customer needs. Fourth, knowledge about how customers use products and devices can facilitate the testing of prototypes and new product features. In order to tap into this potential, companies need to address privacy andsecurity issues and identify business models that support the generation of sensor data.

Control Solutions, Inc I particularly like the words in this observation and feel our industry needs to better understand the concepts embodied in the words Co-Creation.

The consumer-centric approach to innovation offers great advantages over the traditional approach since companies often lack understanding of the consumers’ needs. In co-creation, the users can co-innovate exactly what they want (Von Hippel, 2005). Co-creation is broadly defined as “the creation of value by consumers” (Zwass, 2010, p. 11). Consumers are being involved in the production of the services they buy and this creates extra value for them (Sundbo, Sundbo, & Henten, 2015). According to Ramaswamy (2011) “co-creation is the process by which mutual value is expanded together, where value to participating individuals is a function of their experiences, both their engagement experiences on the platform, and productive and meaningful human experiences that result” (p. 195). The terms co-creation and user innovation are used synonymously as both refer to the creation of value by consumers through their participation in the development of new products or services (Bogers, Afuah, & Bastian, 2010; Constantinides, Wittenberg, & Lorenzo-Romero, 2014). In this research, co-creation is defined as follows: Co-creation is any activity that generates valuable input for the innovation process through direct or indirect involvement of customers in that process.

In the context of social media marketing strategies, Constantinides (2014) distinguished between the active approach and the passive approach. In the active approach customers are involved in the innovation process by actively engaging in co-creation efforts organized by a company, such as a customer community or crowdsourcing. In contrast, the passive approach refers to the indirect involvement of customers in the innovation process. Here customers do not invest time and effort to be involved. Instead, they conduct their
daily routine as usual while they generate data, which serves as a valuable source of intelligence for companies.

Thanks for a great thesis I am pleased to give you top grade Ken .....big smile.


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