Stimulating Creativity and Innovation in and Around Organisations: Co-Creation Experiments from Ongoing Research in a Bank

Stimulating Creativity and Innovation in and Around Organisations: Co-Creation Experiments from Ongoing Research in a Bank

Kirsten Bonde Sørensen
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-617-9.ch015
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Companies are moving from an industrial strategic paradigm into a new paradigm where value co-creation has become a key issue. There are different levels of value co-creation but until now co-creation has often been operating on the outer edges of a company’s value chain. We are, however, moving towards a veritable revolution where value creation will be the core activity of the organisation and customers will act as co-producers, co-creating values (Normann, 2001). This chapter outlines different approaches and developments related to co-creation, but emphasizes the capacity of a design approach. The chapter also defines the challenges of co-creation and reports experiences from ongoing research in a bank. In this example the designer is the facilitator of this organisational process – arranging conversations and debates about the values of the community (Buchanan, 2006). Co-creation is also seen as a kind of rhetorical design communication about values, and rhetorical analysis of values (Perelman, 1969), and motives (Burke, 1969) are applied. The chapter outlines experiences, possibilities and challenges from an ongoing co-creation process in a bank: design of artifacts for co-creation, the creative session with people (inside and outside the company), and analysis and transformation of the responses into a creative and useful tool for the bank. Finally future challenges and possibilities are discussed.
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In recent years companies have moved from an industrial paradigm with focus on the production of goods for the market, with customers as passive receivers, to an intermediate stage where focus has shifted to service and customer relations. Customers are now seen as a source of information about ideas and needs. However, a further development can now be observed, a veritable revolution, where customers are seen as co-producers, involved in value creation, and the core activity of a company will be the organisation of value creation (Normann, 2001).

Different definitions and forms of co-creation have evolved. An intermediate stage is the ‘service-dominant logic of marketing’, which focuses on service and customer relations. In 2004 the marketing researchers Vargo & Lusch presented this new marketing perspective also called the S-D logic (2004), which redefines the relationship between the company and the customer. Goods and services are no longer viewed in the same conventional sense (G-D logic), rather the customer is promoted to being a co-producer of value and is constantly communicating with the firm to improve the quality of the offering (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). Businesses are regarded as learning organisations that do not create value by themselves, but rather are only able to propose ‘offerings’ to the customer. This is referred to as a ‘sense-and-respond’ strategy as opposed to a ‘make-and-sell’ strategy (Haeckel, 1999). Here the firm’s objective has moved far away from ‘making the sale’ to maintaining a healthy and ongoing relationship with the customer.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Design: Design is the basis for the making of every tangible or intangible object or system. Design can be used as both a noun (a design) and as a verb (to design). To design refers to the very process of originating a product, a structure, a system etc. A design refers to either the final solution or plan (a sketch, a proposal, a model etc) or the result of implementing this plan in the form of the final product or a design process. Design and the understanding of design is evolving radically these days, which also is outlined in the chapter.

Creativity: Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts. An alternative conception of creativeness is the act of making something new. Creativity is a complex phenomenon and has been studied from various perspectives: psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, history, economics, design research, business and management, among others. The studies have covered everyday creativity, exceptional creativity and even artificial creativity. Unlike many phenomena in science, there is no single, authoritative perspective or definition of creativity and there is no standardized measurement technique. ( In the field of design creativity is studied either in relation to the person (the designer, artist, architect etc.), or the product (a specific design, a house, a system etc.), or the process (the creative process drawing a house etc).

Co-Creation: Co-creation means any act of collective creativity, i.e., creativity that is shared by two or more people (Sanders, 2008). There are very different opinions on who should be involved in these collective acts of creativity, when, and in what role vary widely, as we have seen in the chapter

Strategic design: Strategic design is the application of future-orientated design principles in order to increase the innovative and competitive qualities of an organization. Its foundations lie in the analysis of external and internal trends and data, which enables design decisions to be made on the basis of facts rather than aesthetics or intuition. As such it is regarded as an effective way to bridge innovation, research, management and design. ( There are different approaches to strategic design some focusing on the dynamic and iterative processes Collopy (2006), Buchanan (2001, 2006), Boland (2008) some on ‘design landscapes’ (Lønne, 2008) some on different design methods (Friis, 2007)

Rhetoric: Rhetoric is one of the arts of using language as a means to persuade. The popular view of rhetoric often is limited to the mere styling of verbal expression. For rhetoric – as for design - the deeper work lies in the invention and disposition of form and content. In approaching design from a rhetorical perspective, the hypothesis should be that all products—digital and analog, tangible and intangible - are vivid arguments about how we should lead our lives. (Buchanan, 2001)

Innovation: Innovation typically involves creativity, but is not identical to it: innovation involves acting on the creative ideas to make some specific and tangible difference in the domain in which the innovation occurs. For example, Amabile et al. (1996) propose: “All innovation begins with creative ideas . . . We define innovation as the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization. In this view, creativity by individuals and teams is a starting point for innovation; the first is necessary but not sufficient condition for the second”. For innovation to occur, something more than the generation of a creative idea or insight is required: the insight must be put into action to make a genuine difference, resulting for example in new or altered business processes within the organization, or changes in the products and services provided. (

Designer: The person designing is called a designer, which is also a term used for people who work professionally in one of the various design areas, usually also specifying which area is being dealt with (such as a fashion designer, concept designer or web designer). Designing often requires a designer to consider the aesthetic, functional and many other aspects of an object or a process, which usually requires considerable research, thought, modelling, interactive adjustment and re-design. With such a broad definition, there is no universal language or unifying institution for designers of all disciplines. This allows for many differing philosophies and approaches toward the subject. However, serious study of design demands increased focus on the design process and the skills of the designer (, (Buchanan (2001, 2006), Collopy (2008), Boland (2008), Lawson (1980)

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