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Value Co-Creation Starts Internally

by David Brock on January 29th, 2013

Recently, I wrote Moving From Value Creation To Value Co-Creation.  Co-Creation is becoming an important concept, ultimately, being able to work with our customers, co-creating value will become very important–at least with our leading customers.  We can’t possibly innovate fast enough to meet our customers needs to innovate and grow.  Neither can our competitors.  But if we can co-create with our customers, we can accelerate what we both achieve.

We won’t co-create with every customer, we can’t possibly afford to, but it really isn’t necessary.  Co-creating with customers who are innovators and thought leaders enables us to create unique value to them, then to apply what we learn in expanding our offerings and selling to other customers.

I’ll write more about this in future posts, but I want to start with a pre-condition for success in value co-creation with customers.  As my friend, Natalie Brown pointed out in her comment on the post, value c0-creation starts within our own organizations.  The ability to transcend organizational boundaries, the ability to align diverse interests, agendas and priorities to create something together is critical.

You may notice, I’ve been trying to avoid the “C-word,”  Collaboration.  Collaboration is one of those hot consulting words that seems to pervade too many conversations.  There are tremendous software tools that “enable collaboration.”  But just because we are using shared spaces somewhere in the cloud, or we are using things like Chatter, Yammer, Jive to “talk” to each other  doesn’t mean we are collaborating.

Rich collaboration has little to do with technology.

So much of what we do in organizations is “handing things off.”  Product management identifies a market opportunity, develops a product strategy, the product road map, and the business case.  They hand off to development who create the product.  Development releases it to manufacturing who build the product.  At the same time, marketing is preparing to create visibility, awareness and demand.  Sales takes that demand, hopefully in the form of sales qualified leads, and gets orders.  Customer service processes the order, finance invoices, and customer service supports the customer in it’s implementation.  Then the cycles starts all over again.

People “talk” to each other,. we have lots of meetings about specific issues, but largely we still operate in silos optimizing our ability to achieve our goals and metrics.  But still we have silos.  We aren’t quite aligned, we have conflicting priorities and objectives.

We’re falling short of our potential and the ability to maximize the value our organizations create for our customers.  Working together, sharing our experience and insights enables us to enrich our value.  For example, the popular Challenger Selling is virtually impossible to leverage to full effect, unless product management, marketing, sales, and customer service work together.  Training sales people in being “Challengers” just equips them to have the conversation, but doesn’t provide the rich content and capabilities to challenge.

The barriers are falling fast.  Marketing and sales organization are working more closely together, aligning goals, metrics and initiatives.  They are re-engineering the marketing and sales funnels to create integrated funnels.

Some organizations are looking at customer experience–integrating what happens before the sale and after the sale into more seamless processes.  Sales, marketing, customer service organizations are, increasingly, working together to define and deliver the total customer experience.

Not everything in our companies require collaborative efforts.  We do, however, need to be aligned, and we do need to learn how collaborate appropriately to maximize our value for customers.

Until we master collaboration within our own organizations, extending it beyond organizational boundaries to partners and customers will be impossible!

What are you doing to enrich collaboration and teamwork within your organization?

  1. Brian MacIver permalink

    It disappoints me that you do not publish comments. by not publishing them or at least acknowledging them you reduce your blog to just Graffiti.

    And, you blogs are better than than that.

  2. Natalie Brown permalink

    Hi Dave,
    I am flattered by the mention. I appreciate your point of view and the discussion. I believe it is critical for organizations to align internally to achieve the corporate goals of growth, market penetration and factory utilization, etc. The sweet spot for high value is the intersection between product development, customer/market inputs and sales. I imagine three circles with the overlapping triangle (there is a specific name for the actual shape but I can not remember from high school geometry) being the intersection of the three. Real collaboration happens when the successful translation of language enables the three circles to understand each other and drive toward the center. Product development has its language. The customer or end market has its language and sales often is translating between the two…how to turn features and benefits of a product into results for the customer/end market. How does the market/end customer influence the product developer in language that product development and manufacturing find meaningful and valuable? Is it a process improvement? What does that mean to the customer? What does that mean to the organization? Finding a common translator language to facilitate internal collaboration is the key. IMO.
    Thanks for the post.

    • An engineer and you’ve forgotten Venn Diagrams 😉

      I really like the model you propose. Within our organizations, we maximize value co creation at the intersection of those circles. It’s that concept that aligns us to maximize the impact of what we do, and how we go to the customer. Thanks for the great model!

  3. Natalie Brown permalink

    Hi Dave,
    I did not forget Venn Diagrams. I forgot the name of the triangle at the intersection of the Venn Diagram. I looked it up and it is a curvelinear triangle. I am sure that next year I will get my refresher as my son tackles the subject!
    Thanks for the posts.

    • Ah, I’d forgotten that—I’ll have to crawl around in the attic for my high school geometry books (I’ve been afraid to throw them away). Regards, Dave

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