Consumers are also makers
200+ page reports. Mirrored rooms. I’ll be honest. I’ve done lots of research, but some time ago I stopped believing in this traditional format. Even the most open and playful models no longer make sense.
The problem is that the premise behind the traditional model of research considers the consumer a passive agent in the process. In addition, consumer participation usually takes place during the evaluation process or at the end of a project, to test concepts or ideas that are already being implemented. In practice, this means that concepts or campaigns are being adjusted, rather than products or services.
I believe there is a portion of consumers who are purposeful. That is, they are willing to co-create a solution that brings real benefits to their lives. To get an idea of this, looking at production of content on social networks in 2015, we see that more than 300 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.
In 2014, it was 72 hours. We are talking about many productive users, who are open to creating long-term relationships with companies and now want more than just marketing campaigns. Roberto Verganti calls this the process “design discourse,” in which intelligence is created through the exchange of knowledge, ideas, insights, drafts and prototypes, which is good for business in the medium and long term.
“The truth is that the process gives creates fundamental premises for the development of the solution”
From the standpoint of design, collaboration with the consumer begins at the early stages of the project, and with a very clear objective: to solve the problem together with the organization and other stakeholders. In co-creation, unlike research, the benefit is discovering the latent needs of users, rather than validating ideas. A common misconception is thinking that generated solutions are implemented as imagined by consumers, but the truth is that the process gives creates fundamental premises for the development of the solution. For strategists, this is only the beginning of our work.
One of the challenges we face is discovering what kind of users will help solve a problem. Here is one of the rules of innovation: bet on the early adopters, who have a more open and positive attitude to this kind of challenge. They have probably already thought of solutions that make their lives better. How about giving them a chance to present their ideas? With a prototype in hand, it is possible to construct a good solution for both sides.
With this, the result is a light and transparent environment. The real intention of the company is clear. Closed rooms and mirrors give way to more fun and playful environments. The endless information reports become lands of opportunity. In this way, the relationship moves from a passive to one that is based on shared attitudes, with people and companies working side-by-side to create a common purpose.
By Carla Link