If the general trend toward crowdsourcing is any clue, then we are all well aware of the value of the Internet masses. Having access to a loyal fan base can be like a fount of free ideas and labor. From translating Wikipedia and Facebook to beta testing Google Chrome, crowdsourcing is used all across the Web for a number of purposes and analyst firm Forrester is suggesting one more – co-creation.
The report surveyed consumer product strategy professionals and consumers and found that «nearly half of all companies are not using social media to interact directly with their customers in order to influence product creation, design or strategy.» Beyond that, the report found that a majority of consumers were more than willing to lend a helping hand in creating the products they would eventually purchase.
Of those consumers willing to co-create, more than half were even interested in co-creation «regardless of the product, service, or brand involved.» Of course, it might be better to get those who are actually interested in and willing to purchase your products involved rather than those who aren’t, as «consumers with knowledge of or a genuine interest in a product would naturally be inclined toward making that product even better.»
A major factor involved in consumers’ willingness to participate in online co-creation, of course, was time involvement. Also seemingly obvious is the fact that «incentives drive interest», with 63% saying that their «participating is dependent upon receiving some form of compensation».
Why simply create a product and offer it to consumers when you can take advantage of the two-way street that is the Internet and find out, before putting in too much time and effort, exactly what it is they want in the first place?