A knowledge – learning-based perspective of co-creation with example

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My perspective of co-creation is rooted in the knowledge-based view of the firm. Firms exist because they can integrate and coordinate specialized knowledge held by individuals into collective, organisational knowledge. In turn, that leads to advantage because with all things being equal, knowledge is difficult to copy, is causally ambiguous and typically, beyond the grasp of rivals. When knowledge is valuable and used appropriately, firms can enjoy sustained competitive advantage. In short, firms are better than markets at integrating and applying valuable knowledge to business activity.

As customers also have knowledge, firms that harness their knowledge through new learning / interaction mechanisms (or “Service”) gain advantage. Customers become knowledge-creating actors in the value-creation process for firms and therefore for other customers. Firms that develop and refine Service using their and their customer’s knowledge or learning derived from interactions with customers are co-creating value with customers. It is the knowledge / learning mechanisms embodied in the Service between the firm and the customer that defines co-creation. These learning mechanisms give birth to new dynamic capabilities (both for firm and the customer in that they can create, modify or renew existing resources held by firm/customer) which lead to the evolution of firms and the evolution of value-in-use – or innovation for customers.

Using John Deere, here is an example of knowledge- or learning-based co-creation between firms and customers.

John Deere makes big heavy products. Take the STS Series High Octane Combine (http://www.deere.com/servlet/ProdCatProduct?tM=FR&pNbr=9570SH). Farmers “hire” this product to get the job done of “Harvest a Crop”. There are a number of functional outcomes that farmers need to get done when harvesting a crop using this Product and by which they “measure” or judge its value-in-use. These outcomes or activities encompass crop collection, separation, yield management, safety, monitoring, equipment cleaning, residue disposal, grain handling etc. etc. However, the functional job / outcomes the product delivers is only one part of the value-in-use derived by farmers when using a Product. The value-in-use is also derived from the abiility of the farmer to learn how to become more productive, knowledgable and informed when using the product. In other words, to become a better farmer. How? from the Service that John Deere integrates or builds on the Product.

Here’s how…. John Deere provides the GreenStar™ Harvest Doc™ system within the Combine. Harvest Doc is a yield mapping system which gathers the yield and moisture information as the farmer uses the combine. The system allows the operator to record yields, moisture, and productivity on the go then store information and download data into their personal computer to create comprehensive yield and moisture maps, along with productivity reports of their fields and operations to better manage inputs and make better management decisions. This is the mechanism that provides knowledge about the farmer’s operations to John Deere and also learning for the farmer to improve his/her capability to get the job done better – to derive superior value-in-use. John Deere also offer the Agris agricultural management suite, a system which helps farmers streamline their processes in key functional areas including commodity management, agronomy management, grain processing, accounting & financials, retail sales, and petroleum management. 

The John Deere Agris and GreenStar Service facilitates nteractions or processes that exist between the Product (Combine), the Firm (John Deere) and the User (Farmer) plus other Users (Farmers) to derive the value-in-use or to get a job done. Such interactions require knowledge, attention, cash, capabilities to perform. These are the mechanisms of co-created value which are of value to both firm and customer. The firm needs learning from customers to innovate successfully (customer knowledge); the customer needs learning from the firm to derive superior value-in-use.

Finally, what is an Experience? I define it as the sum of the functional and emotional value-in-use derived from the Product and the Service by the customer. This may include improved know-what, know-how, emotions, feelings, judgments, relationships as well as functional performance.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chris Lawer
I lead Strategyn UK and work with global companies to help them become successful customer-centred innovators. My team has identified numerous high-value, pre-concept market opportunities and created growth plans that work. Find us at http://www.strategyn.co.uk I also lead ZinC - a healthcare technology opportunity, innovation and growth strategy consultancy. We have tailored customer-centered innovation theory, methods and processes for healthcare markets. Find us at Http://www.zinc-healthcare.com

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