Open innovation with consumers allows companies to open up to sharing ideas, testing and refining them together with large groups of people before they are launched to the market.
This approach can be summed up in one axiom: innovation for consumers, with consumers, as opposed to innovation that does not take consumers into account.
Whereas the first premise assumes the objective of satisfying consumer needs through the right products and services, the second takes things one step further and also seeks participation from consumers in the innovation process. How? By co-creating the product that consumers themselves will use.
This is such an important advantage, that up to 73% of companies say they have launched some kind of co-creation project with consumers in the last year, according to “Co-creating the future” (Hitachi, 2019), a study that includes the opinions of over 500 c-suite executives from large European companies.
The ease of access and choice offered to consumers by technology is forcing companies to reformulate many of their products to include more customization, while still being mass consumer products.
This is not a trivial issue. As we already mentioned on other occasions, at least in Spain, 76% of new products launched to the market fail.
The consumer’s voice in times of collaborative innovation
According to the aforementioned study, collaboration with consumers is, today, the most common form of co-creation within companies. And to make it happen, companies usually make use of technology, as well as open communities or platforms that create an ecosystem for innovation with third parties.
By industries, NGOs, Energy, Construction, Healthcare and Finance are the sectors most inclined to include open innovation with consumers as part of their innovation DNA.
Regarding their main use, 58% of respondents point to co-creation of products and services, and close to 57% observe their effect as part of a cultural transformation experienced by their companies, giving rise to a collaborative work environment that is more open to new ideas.
They also see these initiatives as accelerators for innovation; by allowing co-creation with large groups of consumers, they can gather their insights, quickly detect their needs on a large scale, create, test and compare new ideas with consumers, and validate them together to launch products to the market with proven demand among consumers.
If, as the saying goes, the customer is always right, let us hear the customer’s voice when we innovate, to satisfy their needs.