By now, “co-creation” is a familiar term for the partnership between businesses and customers to create new products and services. The active participation of local low-income communities in the co-creative process helps companies gain vital insights into how to ensure scalable adoption of their proposed solutions. Co-creation also accelerates the entire product development process.
Co-creation can be a powerful tool for deepening the localization of an IBI and even achieving community-wide scale in a village. But that’s not true in all cases. IBI managers need to absorb the do’s and don’ts of a co-creation strategy. Among the keys: the company’s ability to engage local communities in skill development, and the degree to which local consumer preferences are likely to be shaped by grass-roots production.
To significantly reduce the cost of building relationships with local communities, many companies partner with NGOs and small entrepreneurs. Through such partnerships, companies gather insights they need to build commercially viable business models for their IBIs. Moreover, collaboration with these stakeholders can give inclusive ventures access to disruptive technologies and processes at much lower costs.7 Basing an IBI on partnerships with NGOs and local entrepreneurs can be valuable, but only when these partners can be quickly aligned to an IBI’s profit-making objective. In many cases, such groups are not easily aligned to that goal, and it requires a significant investment to effectively incorporate them into a profitdriven IBI initiative.