I think Michael Norton, Jack Nickell, and Zach Smith said it best when they collectively claimed that co-creation is "opesociacollaberaticreatinnovatcrowdsourccommunitengagementifaction".
The question is, which model is best? Is Innocentive's Challenge Driven Innovation the most effective way of utilizing social product innovation, or does Quirky’s Influence Model engage communities in a more effective way? Should you challenge, ask, engage, mentor, outsource, crowd-source, empower, guide, or facilitate your communities? Should you work with your customers, suppliers, employees, regulators, industry experts, academics, or merely the public at large? Which solution is the best for your company?
My answer: both and. Different communities of innovators or creatives need different ecosystems for creating. You must pick the strategy which best fits with your mission, and pick multiple strategies. Although the #CoCreatePDMA Conference is providing insight on what these communities look like and how they function, there is no steadfast program to follow: merely guidelines on how to curate a co-creation community.
Great, you say. How am I supposed to pitch co-creation to senior management? How can I deliver an innovation strategy to capitalize on the emergent properties, relevance, and the value multipliers co-creation facilitates? The answer lies in portfolio management:
"Portfolio management for new products is a dynamic decision process wherein the list of active new products and research projects is constantly revised. In this process, new projects are evaluated, selected, and prioritized. Existing projects may be accelerated, killed, or deprioritized and resources are allocated and reallocated to the active projects. The portfolio decision process is characterized by uncertain and changing information, dynamic opportunities, multiple goals and strategic considerations, interdependence among projects, and multiple decision makers." -Portfolio Management for New Products, Second Edition (Cooper, Edgett & Kleinschmidt)
You must incorporate social product innovation initiatives into your overall innovation portfolio management strategy. This portfolio needs to consist of all your company's innovation efforts, and be managed through measured metrics with specific decision criteria in order to determine what is or is not working, and how to allocate external and internal resources toward front end growth. Start and grow initiatives quick, and kill them even faster. Remember that co-creation initiates vary in their speed to develop and deliver results, and must be measured differently depending on their approach.
For more information on innovation portfolio management, check out this Kalypso Viewpoint.