In the Transformation, replace Competition with Co-Creation


In the Transformation, replace Competition with Co-Creation. The idea of competition is engraved in our minds. I was also trained, as you, for years to compete hard. It’s also what I learned in the business school. But partnering and synergizing with others means greater manpower, bigger potential, merging and quantifying savings in industries that have reached their market ceiling

In the Transformation, replace Competition with Co-Creation

You think I’m crazy saying this? The idea of competition is engraved in our minds. I was also trained, as you, for years to compete hard. It’s also what I learned in the business school. The entire business education is based on competing with other businesses. We were 24/7 prepared to fight for perception changes and market share growth. The holy grails of business making and marketing services.

After the thorough understanding of global trends and the on-going Transformation, in the last 9 years, I’m now a changed man. If you still think,  that you have to compete for better jobs or more market share, you’re as wrong as I was. What has really changed?

Personalization & Differentiation

First, personalization and differentiation in the peer-to-peer economy bring on the need to refocus on what you do. You shouldn’t care for competing but build a uniquely distinct personal and business path. Consumers click away in 5 seconds. They’re after personal and satisfying experiences. Since they compare, simply competing on parity levels won’t save the day for your business.

They want to know how good you are. If they can trust your offering. If your company is reputable. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Competing it the wrong concept. It ‘steals’ energy and resources from your business plan and your people. Mind your plan and innovative evolution[/inlinetweet]. What can you do better?

If someone has a job, that means you can’t have the same job. And if a company has a certain market share, of course, you can get some piece of that share, but it would be fantastic to evolve your positioning and product portfolio in new segments and geographies. Truly innovate. That’s the name of the game in the transformed industries.

Mergers & acquisitions

Then it’s the era of M&A’s. Either due to cost, production and distribution synergies, or due to limitations in their industries, more and more companies will unit their operations and models. It’s another global scale tactic, and if estimates are correct in the next 10 years we will have an increase of 20% in M&A’s across USA and EU. It’s also a counter-Chinese ‘invasion’ tactic!

In this M&A era whether you compete in your usual industry domain or not, doesn’t matter since you will find more scaled, possibly new, and stronger companies ahead. So instead of competing think the evolution of your product or service portfolio, with an abundance mindset – not a copy-paste tactic.

Technology transforms models

Then, it’s the technology transformation. Every business model is now hugely disrupted. Until 2025, 1 trillion objects (devices) will be connected to the grid / IoT / internet, creating new services, and professions. From agriculture to public security. Do you think that even a commodity’ FMCG won’t be influenced? A retail shop? Distribution and pricing?

If you are a Service organization, competition and copy-paste offerings aren’t enough anymore. Will you have chat-bots to serve customers? What is your plan to use Voice, Voice SEO, face recognition, and automated logistics?

Dear leader, no matter your industry, you should watch out for a) mobile internet, b) work and customer support automation, c) Internet of Things (rough added value of $5-6 trillion in global GDP).

Urbanization & Ageing population

Then, consider partnerships and co-creation to be agile in the urbanization and ageing era. Most people, entrepreneurs and employees don’t think what changes, but are afraid that someone else beats them to “it.” Have you ever took a minute out of office, to think how urbanization and ageing population will impact your business and your brand?

With city populations growing on average by 65 million more each year, you will have more people, more needs, more opportunities for business, social services but in the important urban centres… (hey, plan your exports). Will your city be among the 440 cities-emerging markets that will account for the 50% of world GDP (yes, you figured it, Chinese cities will lead)? Take a note that the urban consumer will consume more (+150% by 2030), excluding uncertainty and crisis-issues. Urbanization will be the game-play of connected, smart, well-being, socially equal cities!

Watch out for this big shift of elder people and the greying workforce in all markets, possibly affecting your product portfolio, pricing, market, and corporate brand. Diversify. Think of new segment-specific product lines.

Life Is Abundant

A quick look at history shows that mankind always kept moving forward. Sure, we’ve had times of downfall, but we always recovered and grew. So when you’re expecting that the world economy will not grow, you’re actually betting against mankind! You must believe that we live in an abundant world. There is enough opportunity for everyone. So, never allow yourself to think that you won’t make it.

Stimuli to discuss and share


DEWALT decided to gather invention submissions for new products. DEWALT is a leading manufacturer of high-quality power tools. Millions of professionals rely on the company to produce the latest durable products that solve new challenges on the worksite. To understand the direction technology and innovation need to go, DEWALT has an award-winning insight community of more than 10,000 end users. The company uses its community to get to know customers and their needs while gathering product, packaging and marketing feedback. DEWALT also has an invention submission where professional tradesmen and loyal customers submit ideas for entirely new product lines.

(source: US media)


LEGO has long seen the value in co-creating products with customers (both young and old). For example, LEGO Ideas is an online community where members can discover cool creations by other fans and submit their own designs for new sets. Fans can vote on submissions and give feedback. If a project gets 10,000 votes, LEGO reviews the idea and picks a winner for an official LEGO Ideas set to be created and sold worldwide. The creator gives final product approval, earns a percentage of the sales and is recognized as the creator of all packaging and marketing. This concept celebrates loyal customers and rewards them for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism. Inspiring the next generation of creators…

(source: global media)


Co-creating the future of delivery services. DHL, the world’s largest mail and logistics services company, knows the importance of innovating with the customer in mind. To tackle the challenge of improving supply chains and logistics, the company hosts hands-on workshops with customers in Germany and Singapore. Loyal DHL customers have participated in more than 6,000 engagements, including the workshops, to co-create solutions that improve the experience for everyone.

One of the many inventions that originated from a workshop is the Parcelcopter, a test drone delivery service project based in Germany that could change DHL’s services forever. While standard mail-delivery vehicles typically take a half hour to deliver, the Parcelcopter only needs eight minutes. Community members co-created the idea and tested out the potential service, bringing their packages to what DHL is calling a “Parcelcopter Skyport.” The business results for DHL has been phenomenal. DHL’s co-creation efforts resulted in customer satisfaction scores rising to over 80%, on-time delivery performance increasing to 97% or higher and customer churn to decrease.

(source: Forbes)


Swiss-based Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company, paid Starbucks Corp $7.15 billion in cash for exclusive rights to sell the U.S. chain’s packaged coffees and teas around the world (outside the Starbucks’ network areas), tying a premium brand to Nestle’s global distribution muscle. The agreement also includes Starbucks-branded capsules for Nestle’s Nespresso and Dolce Gusto single-serve brewers, which should help Nestle curb sales of alternatives from other providers. Nestle expects the alliance to add to its earnings by 2019.


E-retail furniture company puts the power in the buyer’s hands to decide which designs go from the drawing board into production. has limited showroom space in the UK, so it relies on Made Unboxed online community, where customers upload photos of Made furniture in their homes and get inspired by interior design ideas. Made Talent Lab hosts an annual online contest, Made Emerging Talent Award (similar to LEGO Ideas) in which budding new designers submit their work for other designers and customers to vote on. If a design gets enough votes, earns the attention of judges and wins the contest, the piece is produced and sold on within 12 months. The company publicizes the design, giving the fledgeling designer exposure, a career boost and royalties.

“The link between the customer has gone well beyond functionality and brand,” says retail customer experience consultant, Francesca Danzi, on why she thinks Made is a great example of co-creation. “It is deeper, and it helps people to express themselves in a creative way and really participate with their own tastes, with their own know-how, and with their own style, into the life of a brand.”

(source: VisionCritical)

Get rid of the thought of competition. You are to create, not to compete for what is already created. You do not have to take anything away from any one.

Wallace D. Wattles

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For all of the above, Co-Create with others

Find partners, merge resources, create synergies, share your equity. It’s not enough anymore to compete and lose the growth opportunities of tomorrow’s economy. Legacy companies think that this is bullshit. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what others think. If you believe in something and if you can create value, go for it.

Partnering with others means greater manpower, bigger potential, merging and quantifying savings in industries that have reached their market ceiling. It’s what global players are doing with talent, startups, and small groups. They assign a product development. They outsource hugely. Then, they go to market as one team, one dream.

Co-Create. Co-Create. Co-Create. There’s enough opportunity for everyone in the world. The problem is that most people don’t use the opportunities.

Co-creation with your customer-base!?

Yes, that’s needed now! Before considering uniting what you do with others, first and above all consider co-creating with your customer base. You will find examples of companies creating permanent consumer panels, advisory boards and R&D special projects.

According to the Huffington Post, 70% of companies that deliver outstanding customer experience rely on customer feedback. Smart brands have long since realized that it’s customers control whether a product or service goes to market successfully.

Co-creation, the process where brands and consumers work together to create better ideas, products and services, is a new corporate medium. Brands still steer product innovation, but customers have a seat at the (head of the) table.

I’ve seen it happening

In my Ericsson years, we’ve co-created products, solutions, and insightful programs with many of our 1000 customers. We’ve co-created initiatives with sustainability partners. We’ve co-created programs of marketing innovation, to experiment, learn, and understand more.

In 2013, we’ve even brought together a C0-Creation network of experts and stakeholders for the City of Athens, Greece and how to make it a more creative, sustainable, open, and innovative city (see the above video). Co-creation networks facilitate greater and faster learning for your company. Unites you with knowledge hubs, and creates trusted networking and possibly ambassadors.

From a B2B2C company up to a football club. Imagine the potential

Can you imagine co-creation for football club brand like Manchester City FC? Analogy? The example is a stimulus for any brand that activates loyal supporters prior to launch in order to avoid serious backlash. Beyond dodging negative sentiment, Manchester City leadership knew how invested fans are in the success of the brand and saw the value in working together.

The club wanted to make improvements to the overall look and feel of both the web and mobile experience. Manchester City leadership gathered feedback throughout the brand refresh by launching several focus groups, surveys, user tests and prototype designs. Together the club and supporters co-created a mobile-first, video-rich experience that better features trending and relevant content with modern design.

A stimulus-edit of 28/03/2018

It was announced that Daimler and BMW are officially bringing together their mobility services business groups into one combined company, with a 50% stake owned by each automaker. That means tying up all their on-demand mobility offerings, including car share services Car2Go and DriveNow; ride-hailing like myTaxi, Chauffeur Privé and Clever Taxi; parking products like ParkNow and Parkmobile; on-demand services like moves and ReachNow; and charging solutions including ChargeNow and Digital Charging Solutions (source: TechCrunch article)


I have thousands of good reasons (all rational) and hard-facts / data to prove why any Company needs to co-create its future in operational, product, and service innovation arenas. You can say, who am I to tell?

I’m a working man who has seen the disruption of eating up the flesh and bones of established, legacy companies. I’ve seen the hundreds of restructuring/change programs and the hundreds of thousands of redundancies (Ericsson, HP, Bank of America, Unilever, Procter, Visa and so many others) that will continue.

The answer you need lies in the objective observation of change and transformation of many industries and company models. Then, turn to your business plans that you have followed for many years as a same, old routine. Don’t you see that as you are today, there’s not much growth potential?

Co-create, find new horizons, grow through partnerships, give space to your customers …or else persist on your own (30-years’) routine, hoping that you will survive. My thoughts are with you and to our economic growth potential. For the next generations. For Prosperity. For social balance.

If only we change and see anew…

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