THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN IT AND CO CREATION
It is anything but simple to explain the relationship between IT (information technology), small businesses and the Co Creation Phenomena. But there is no doubt that they have been really helpful for the growth of small businesses over the years. Crowdholding combines all three connecting the crowd and entrepreneurs to co-create, allowing them to give feedback and ideas for future revenue. In this article we will try to explain this topic the best we can, by doing some references to many articles related to this matter.
During the 1990s, notions of the extended enterprise and the boundaryless organization encouraged managers to broaden their search for efficiencies and discover ways of creating value from their supplier network and beyond. Starting in 1995, the Internet further invigorated the corporate pursuit of efficiency, this time expanding it to include all the activities directly involving or affecting the company–customer relationship. Still, throughout this evolution, the assumption that internal cost efficiency is the source of value creation has remained unchallenged.
CO CREATION PHENOMENA
How do companies co-create valuable experiences with consumers?
The traditional company-centric view says: (1) the consumer is outside the domain of the value chain; (2) the enterprise controls where, when, and how value is added in the value chain; (3) value is created in a series of activities controlled by the enterprise before the point of purchase; (4) there is a single point of exchange where value is extracted from the customer for the enterprise.
The consumer-centric view says: (1) the consumer is an integral part of the system for value creation; (2) the consumer can influence where, when, and how value is generated; (3) the consumer need not respect industry boundaries in the search for value; (4) the consumer can compete with companies and small business for value extraction; (5) there are multiple points of exchange where the consumer and the company can co-create value.
In the customer-centric mass production and marketing of automobiles, for example, suppliers provide raw materials, components, subcomponents, and systems to manufacturers, who create value by assembling these inputs into vehicles. Consumers actively decide what vehicle to buy, but companies decide what their choices will be. Cars are sold by dealers acting as intermediaries for the automakers. For companies reliant on this scenario, value creation is defined solely by extracting profit from end consumers.
Consumers appreciate and expect efficiency when it improves their experience with a product or service. But most of the time, managers are so preoccupied with operating efficiently that they don’t even think about value in terms of the consumer’s experience. (See Exhibit 1.) Ask yourself: Do you as a consumer of a digital camera think about the complex sourcing patterns and logistics that the manufacturer has to deal with, or are you thinking about the fun you will have when you bring the camera to the beach to record your children’s first ocean swim?
Because companies have historically controlled all business activities involved in the co creation of the things they sell, it is their view of value that is dominant. Indeed, the consumer typically has little or no influence on value created until the point of exchange when ownership of the product is typically transferred to the consumer from the firm. This is true whether the consumer is a company or an individual.
Now consumers are challenging this corporate logic of value creation. Spurred by the consumer-centric culture of Crowdholding — with its emphasis on interactivity, speed, individuality, and openness — the consumer’s influence on value creation has never been greater, and it is spreading to all points in the value chain. (See “The Five Powers of the Connected Consumer”)
The 3 Powers of the Connected Consumer and information technology
Before the Internet liberated information technology, companies could do everything — choose materials used in products, design production processes, craft marketing messages, control sales channels — with no interference. Now, consumers exercise their influence in every part of the business system. Nevertheless, companies should welcome, not resist, the consumer powers detailed below.
1. Information Access. With access to unprecedented amounts of information, consumers have knowledge to make much more informed decisions. This is causing companies across industries to cede control over value creation and develop new ways of doing business. Consider health care. More than 70 million Americans have reportedly used the Internet to learn about diseases and treatment options and investigate how to get involved in clinical drug trials. Consumers now question their physicians more aggressively and participate more fully in choosing treatments. This is dramatically altering traditional pharmaceutical sales practices. In the U.S., it is driving consumer-centric “defined-contribution” health-care reform wherein companies give employees information and ask them to assume more responsibility for selecting and managing their own health-care benefits.
2. Global View. The Internet is the first single source of information that gives consumers the ability, 24 hours a day, to see what is happening around the world. That is changing the rules for how companies compete. For example, multinationals are more exposed to consumer scrutiny of product price and performance across geographies, which means those businesses have less latitude to vary the price or quality of products sold in multiple regions. But it also means companies have more information to sharpen global strategies. New competitors and potential partners for large companies are also emerging in the global marketplace. Even poor artisans in Rajasthan, India, can sell high-quality table linen on the Web for $10 and deliver it to buyers in the U.S. in about a week, and for one-tenth the cost of comparable linen in the United States.
3. Networking. Consumers naturally coalesce around common skills, interests, and experiences. The Internet amplifies this by encouraging an unparalleled ease and openness of communication among perfect strangers. Indeed, “communities of interest,” where individuals confabulate and commiserate without geographic constraints and with few social barriers, exist all over the Web. People participating in a chat area may know nothing more about those they’re chatting with than the interest they share. The power of consumer networks is that they’re independent and based on real consumer experiences, not what the company tells them they will experience.