It is crucial to think of co-creation as a strategic programme rather than as a “just in time” outsourcing of innovation tasks. A co-creation programme is characterized by continuous collaborative relationships with users, consisting of various internal and external cycles of acquiring and assimilating the users’ value contributions. To illustrate the applicability and benefits of such a programmatic approach I want to introduce the BMW Group Co-Creation Lab as a powerful research platform and a promising model for permanent co-creation.
The “Co-Creation Lab” addresses all essential dimensions of a programmatic view on co-creation. The lab is a virtual meeting place for individuals interested in car-related topics and eager to share their ideas and opinions on tomorrow’s automotive world with one of the leading car manufacturers. The web-based platform is designed to become a central hub offering various virtual user integration projects. Multiple activities and tasks relating to different automotive fields positioned at different stages in NPD can be accessed from the lab as a Meta-platform at the same time. The integrated methods range from idea contests, user toolkits, virtual concept tests, and innovation research studies up to lead user application forms. Over time a logical sequence of the deployed methods and tools make up an ongoing co-creation roadmap allowing utilizing synergies of multiple single co-creation encounters. The history of user interactions is displayed and communicated on the platform. This initiative clearly indicates that the BMW Group is not only interested in their own research and development departments, but also in the creative minds outside the BMW Group in order to secure the long-term innovation and technology leadership.