Every a few years the Internet changes significantly enough to deserve a change in notation. The first wave was about using web pages to sell products. In the second phase, the Internet became a democracy in that people could comment on and challenge what was written in the emerging web pages and micro-blogging sites. Web 2.0 brought the social media age of the Internet to maturity. Currently, it is changing once more. These new adjustments are building on the success of web 2.0 and focus on creation, or rather co-creation.
Co-creation refers to the involvement of users in the development of a product. The concept builds on the realization that people are no longer content with just commenting; they want to be part of the actual process that creates a product. Co-creation, therefore, is a concept of innovation.
There are three main possible applications of co-creation. These are the evaluation of ideas, refining of concepts, and designing of product prototypes. Companies that use the co-creation approach do so for the benefits that include efficient innovation, customer engagement and reduced marketing costs as the users help them to come up with the ideas.
Some companies that have successfully used co-creation include Coca-Cola with its Freestyle Machine that has an internet sharing component, apparel company Threadless which only manufactures t-shirt designs that have the highest votes from users, and LEGO which has a vibrant community supporting innovative growth of their product.
Where Do You Fit In?
If you have any specialized expertise, you can be a co-creator who makes profits. Think of that as an interesting proposition if you wish to work remotely for a big company – you would only get paid when the company makes sales. A good example of this opportunity is with power-tool manufacturer DeWALT which has two large co-creation models. The first one is a community made up of regular users of the tools who might have suggestions on the products and the second one is an initiative that invites submissions from professionals. If a submission wins, the person who wrote it gets paid for it. This is a new way of making money from home that many individuals are now aware of.
The opportunities to make money within a co-creation ecosystem are there, but they require that people demonstrate and apply their unique abilities.
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