22 Oct · 4 min read
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 many organizations have seen a lot more innovation than they’ve seen in the past decade. A major portion of this is in co-creation initiatives. In co-creation, individuals or companies that are outside of a particular organization collaborate on a project. These are usually the organization’s customers but could also be partners, consultants, etc.
Antti Pitkänen is the Chairman and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at Agile Work. The company focuses on workplace transformation to create workplaces that are designed for collaborative work. “Before 2020, all of the co-creation we did happen in a face-to-face setting. At the moment, however, we are doing absolutely everything remotely by using digital tools,” explains Antti.
Ever since the start of the pandemic, Antti has witnessed first-hand the dramatic changes in how companies work and how this has impacted co-creation and collaboration. In this article, we have gathered insights from Antti about the shift in co-creation. He also shares his insights on the future of co-creation and some tips to stay up-to-date with the changes.
Co-creation projects can be done virtually as well as in an in-person setting. Both options have very distinct advantages. In a traditional, in-person model, there is the element of social interaction that creates tangible energy in the room. You get to know people more easily by being face-to-face. “But what usually happens, no matter what your group, is that the level of participation varies greatly from individual to individual. There are the loud ones in the room who take up 80% of the time,” Antti describes.
Since traditional setups have taken a backseat and remote work has been on the rise, companies have discovered many ways to leverage digital tools for collaborative work. “Engaging the entire group is possible in a completely new way—many of those who would not speak up in a classroom setting are willing to share their thoughts online. Recently, for example, we’ve reached participation levels as high as 97%. This means that almost everyone has provided input in one way or another.”
Antti adds that digital tools have helped make processing and documenting a lot easier. “The AI features of Howspace are constantly getting better at recognizing emotional states and summarizing themes. Being able to organize and compile all the input from the participants creates transparency, which in turn creates trust in the process. We can show the results to the client and they concretely see how much they have created and how much insight they have provided as an organization”.
According to Antti, digital or physical co-creation requires the following 8 key elements:
As per Antti, these key elements are even more important in a remote environment. “For example, choosing the right tools is much more important when you are doing co-creation only remotely. Documenting in real-time is also crucial because it creates a shared understanding. And, finally, the role of skilled communication is also emphasized because non-verbal cues are not available in the same way they are in a classroom.”
It’s still unknown as to how long remote work will be forced onto the world. Yet, a lot of companies have kept the flexibility of remote working open for their employees. As we look to get closer to normal in a couple of years, it’s no doubt that remote/virtual work will continue.
“As the internet of things (IOT) develops, it can bring very interesting solutions to the markets that can bridge the gap between the classroom and the digital tool. Think about self-recording whiteboards and a camera that converts post-it notes into editable text. Solutions like this could be directly plugged into a tool such as Howspace.” - Antti.
Want to test how to use Howspace for co-creation? Start your 30-day free trial here.