Innovation Hack 6 - How To Make Your Customers Partners

Co-create with them

WHAT is today’s hack?

Don’t ask for opinion, ask for advice


WHY is it working?

Companies can make customers feel like partners by involving them in the process of creating products with co-creation techniques.

The simplest way of involving them is by asking questions about the future of the product:
“What functionality do you want us to remove? What needs to stay?”

The key is to ask them for advice not for their opinion.
Do not ask what they think about this. Don’t ask if they like it.
If you ask for their opinion you get a critic.

Rather ask for advice. If you ask for advice you get a partner.

In an online study, people were asked about a new restaurant. Half of them were asked to tell what they think about it (opinion). The other half was asked for advice. They found out that those who were asked for advice were much more positive toward the new restaurant idea because they felt like they were part of the plan.


WHEN can it be used?

Co-creation techniques can and should be used in every problem-solving process. We all create solutions for someone - for our customers. The concept of involving them is not common yet but it can make a huge difference.

Involving the customers in the process of creating the solution seems wrong. You may think the customers could feel like it’s our job to create the right solution. But in the end, they feel involved, they feel like part of the process.

In a project in Dallas some years ago, I was asked if I am sure it’s the right process to ask customers to build the product: “Isn’t this your task?”
Just two day later the same person told me: “I was wrong, I am completely sold now. It’s us who knows best what we need.”


HOW to apply the technique at work or home?

Next time you solve a problem for someone simply involve them. Don’t think about complicated co-creation techniques, simply ask them some questions.

But remember, don’t ask for opinion, ask for advice. Never ask them what they like or don’t like. Liking is a reported mental state which doesn’t correspond to any behavior. Never ask people to make a prediction of their own future behavior. Ask them to help you.