Entrepreneurship is easier with the help of the client

2 min reading
Entrepreneurs / 23 December 2013
Entrepreneurship is easier with the help of the client


Unilateral communication has proven to be ineffective. Companies know this, and increasingly more businesses of all kinds are committed to seek collaboration and complicity with consumers and clients. The result is more attractive products that are less likely to fail, because they already have the prior approval of the public for which they are intended.

Although there have been similar initiatives in more traditional media such as TV or newspapers, Internet has been a great ally in providing a fast and effective participation. This approach benefits both customers, who can see their suggestions become true, and business, which will probably increase their sales.

Concepts such as co-creation' are a buzz word these days. According to Forrester, it is "the act of involving consumers directly (in some cases several times) in a creative production or an innovation process."

In other words, it means 'co-creating' the product with the help of collaborators, employees, customers, partners, suppliers and specialists. We can find many examples, and most of them are applicable to all kinds of initiatives, particularly to those carried out by entrepreneurs.

Those who embark on a business venture should note that it is positive not to be biased by the view of just one person, since the contribution of others will enhance the idea and generate a better position to seek the common goal. It is about exploiting opportunities such as the use of external talent, following the rhythm of users and increasing the demand for complementary products while reducing costs.

Some 'co-creatives' in action

Nike is one of the companies most firmly committed to Collaborative Innovation, and a proof of this is the campaign 'Create your own shoes'. It allows end customers to design their own shoes and accessories, which are delivered to them within one month. It also provides valuable information about the tastes of Nike's customers, helping the company to succeed with future products.

This is not the first time that Nike listens to its clients. In 2006 the company partnered with Apple to launch the Nike+ service, an interaction platform where customers provided valuable information on preferences and needs. Even spaces for attracting new customers were created, which was a real strategic capital.

The result speaks for itself. By the end of 2007 Nike had succeeded in capturing 57% of the runners in the United States, a figure that in 2009 continued to rise and already reached 61% of the market.

Another example is 'Soy Innovador' (I'm an Innovator), a campaign launched by insurer Mutua Madrileña which offers its community of members the opportunity to participate in its services. Thus, simple ideas such as a technique for correcting minor scratches in a vehicle without having to paint it entirely represent great savings in time and effort, plus more effectiveness. In this case, a user name and password is all that separates us from the possibility of having an insurance policy more in line with our needs.

Equally straightforward is the consumables multinational Brother. Under the motto 'Help us to improve our products' it has developed an application which helps them to offer more "innovative products that are specifically built to benefit you and your needs in the future."

Other companies such as Philips invite customers to share their ideas about possible products through its section 'My Philips'. Besides offering the chance to participate in forums and polls, Philips provides "the opportunity to test and review our latest products before they are launched" – a big temptation for the buyer, and a way for the company to detect small faults that may have passed unnoticed.


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