In our Why Chirp? series, we’ll explore some of the qualitative, quantitative, and innovation methodologies we offer and how multi-phase, mixed-methodology research forwards our clients’ objectives. This month, we’re talking co-creations with Jane Deitrich, Director of Strategy and Innovation.
What is a Co-Creation?
A co-creation brings together core client team members and consumers. These fun and focused one- or two-day sessions can be done virtually or in-person and usually involve 20-30 participants. A Chirp facilitator leads this group of clients and consumers in a series of exercises designed to inspire and draw out new ideas that satisfy the strategic objective and honor the predetermined guardrails. We employ a mix of prototyping, games, cross-category inspiration, costumes, contests, etc. The variations are endless. Most co-creations have both divergent and convergent phases. During the divergent phase, participants are asked to generate as many ideas as possible, focusing on quantity over quality. In the convergent phase, the group works to optimize the most promising ideas by addressing barriers and supplying important details that may not be thought through when the idea is first created.
Why include consumers in the innovation process?
Client team members spend so much of their time thinking about their category and brand. This makes them excellent judges of new concepts and allows them to quickly filter out ideas that “won’t work” for a variety of reasons. This mode of thinking is essential during the convergent/optimization phase but can hamper the flow of new ideas and/or prematurely rule out promising paths before they’ve been fully explored. Consumers, on the other hand, mostly have no idea what is logistically feasible and speak from a place of excitement and possibility, and can more easily set aside the notion that ideas should be “good” ideas to be shared. This makes them amazing catalysts during the divergent phase when many seed ideas are needed. The way that these two approaches come together in an ideation makes it possible to create not only unique and truly new ideas, but ideas that ultimately meet the project’s objective.
Can you give me an example?
Yes! We conducted a session where a company was rethinking their online user experience. During the divergent phase, we asked participants to work in groups to create a floorplan of a department store where they would go to shop for this product in person. We asked them to tell us what would be closest to the door, how many entrances/floors, and how they would like to arrange and move through the space. They built a 3D posterboard model of this digital space and then each team shared their creation with the group. Later in the divergent phase, the client team was able to conceptualize these 3D models and equate distance with number of clicks, or departments on the same floor but not visible from the entrance with digital content below the fold. It allowed them to step out of a very linear/kitchen sink way of thinking about UX and explore options they had never considered.
What’s the difference between a general market consumer and a creative consumer?
General market consumers are the folks who are recruited for focus groups and more traditional types of research. They meet all the screening criteria for the previous phases of the project and can lend helpful feedback on ideas as they are created. Creative consumers are recruited from Chirp’s own pool of well-trained ideators who are skilled in out-of-the-box thinking and will meet most of the screening requirements. Creative consumers provide that spark of excitement and passion. They show up ready to create ideas and keep the energy up for their whole team, hanging back when ideas are flowing and jumping in when the energy starts to flag.
What makes the co-creation process unique?
Co-creations provide a unique opportunity to use the insights and output of previous research to jump start the creative process and interact directly with their consumers. Because the key stakeholders are present as the ideas are being created, ranked, and optimized, these sessions foster internal agreement and help client teams convert insights into action.
What can clients expect from the process?
Our clients can expect that these sessions will leverage previous research, use a variety of exercises to keep the energy high, and make the experience fun and memorable for all. For any co-creation, a clearly defined objective is the single most important factor. Once the objective is clarified, Chirp will work with the client to set guardrails, voting criterion, and other measurable standards to make sure all ideas generated are focused on the objective. The session may include a videographer, and illustrator, or additional Chirp table moderators. After the session, our custom and highly visual deliverables range from illustrated reports, video reels, and/or concepts ready for testing.
We love doing co-creations at Chirp! We use our 15+ years of experience in innovation and ideation to help transform consumer insights into testable or actionable concepts. Chirp excels at generating promising ideas and assembling them in a format that is easy to socialize and prepare for next steps. And because we have such a variety of strategies and resources at our disposal, we can tailor every co-creation to make use of the previous research and craft deliverables to meet our clients’ unique objectives.