The traditional processes used in innovation and problem-solving resembled a push system, where the decision makers developed certain strategic plans to produce products and/or services and pushed such plans to their stakeholders. However, in a co-creating process of value creation, the enterprise works in cooperation with all the stakeholders, especially the intended end-users. The core principle of co-creation is “engaging people to create valuable experiences together” while enhancing network economies (Ramaswamy and Gouillart, 2010).
Co-creation is especially relevant for value, relevance, representation and sustainability of outcomes for stakeholders. Increasingly today diverse stakeholder communities, are actively involved in working with decision makers to create value, not only for themselves but for the general public at large, including such social issues as ethics and the environment.
At eGovlab, over the past few years, we have designed, deployed and further developed our own methodology for open innovation and co-creation. Below is a brief description of the process we adopt when engaging with our stakeholders (be they from governments, industry, academia or civic society):
We follow a 6 phase approach, where we begin by identifying the challenges (problem formulation). This first phase is entire driven by the stakeholders, be they citizens, government agencies, industry or academic partners. Once the challenge is well defined and the scope determined, we move to stage two, where we apply the quadruple helix model which brings together the diverse stakeholders from academic/ scientific communities, public sector or governmental agencies, civil society as well as private sector. We physically bring together these key players using “open innovation jam sessions” – events/interactive workshops/hackathons – that provide a platform for co-creation. At eGovlab we have a team of dedicated personnel who are experts in this field and they draw on a wide range of tools, methodologies and epistemologies. The outcomes of the second phase are then visualised using tools such as videos that explore further the various future “what-if” scenarios. Post concept visualisation, we move towards testing and sand-boxing the ideas developed earlier. We do so by preparing our test-bed with open data from agencies and APIs. Stage five and two iteratively then build on the co-creation outcomes via active citizen engagement, in a feedback loop that is non-linear in progression. In other words, we iteratively go back to the drawing board in light of new ideas, inputs and insights. The final stage of this methodology involves creating a tangible road-map, prototyping and pre-acceleration. A critical component of our methodology for co-creation at eGovlab, is the transition from ideation and conceptualisation, via visualisation and co-creation to market readiness. We support winning ideas and solutions with pre-acceleration in order to sustain the dividends of this open innovation process.