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Ertz, M. Co-Creation. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 17 June 2024).
Ertz M. Co-Creation. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 17, 2024.
Ertz, Myriam. "Co-Creation" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 17, 2024).
Ertz, M. (2024, January 15). Co-Creation. In Encyclopedia.
Ertz, Myriam. "Co-Creation." Encyclopedia. Web. 15 January, 2024.
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Co-creation has gained traction in recent years and various fields, including marketing, product development, and innovation studies, as it leverages the collective expertise and insights of multiple parties to enhance outcomes. Broadly, co-creation refers to the collaborative process of involving stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, employees, or the public, in creating or improving products, services, or experiences.

co-creation crowdsourcing new product development design thinking open innovation prototyping
The concept of co-creation has gained traction in recent years since consumers play increasingly a key role in creating value within the economy [1]. Co-creation’s history dates back to early forms of banking, with examples like the colonial scrip in the United States and Credit Agricole in France, where communities or groups came together to create their own financial solutions. In more modern times, co-creation has been applied in various industries, including technology (e.g., Linux, Mozilla Firefox) and consumer goods (e.g., Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, Burberry’s partnership with, accessed on 10 January 2024) [2][3]. Prahalad and Ramaswamy [2] are often credited for popularizing the co-creation concept, although many authors contributed to its conceptualization since the 1990s, in-cluding Hubbert [4] or Kambil et al. [5]. Prahalad and Ramaswamy [2] defined co-creation as a business that emphasizes creating value through interaction between companies and customers. This approach contrasted traditional business models where companies create value and customers consume it. Instead, it involves customers’ active contribution to the business value creation process for mutually beneficial outcomes for both customers and the business.
From a more recent perspective, the concept of co-creation involves not only consumers or end-users but a broader range of stakeholders [6]; while encompassing the idea that not all co-creation efforts are guaranteed to succeed, they do offer the chance to inspire ideas, gain fresh perspectives, and move in the right direction through brainstorming with like-minded individuals. Hence, an updated definition of co-creation refers to it as the active involvement of stakeholders, such as consumers, suppliers, business partners, and even employees, engaging together in the creation of value in various stages of the production process [2][6].
One key area in which co-creation thrives is innovation and product development, where customers or end-users are involved in the design process so that products better meet their preferences and needs [7]. The rationale is that customers, being the end-users, have unique insights that can significantly improve the design and functionality of products. O’Hern and Rindfleisch [8] further refined co-creation in the specific area of digital marketing, defining it as “a collaborative NPD (new product development) activity in which customers actively contribute and/or select the content of a new product offering” (p. 86).
Given the powerful insights that co-creation can provide, organizations from both the public and the private sphere have recourse to it. In the private sphere, businesses like Starbucks, with its My Starbucks Idea program and LEGO’s IDEAS platform, have used co-creation platforms to gather customer ideas for new products or improvements. In the public realm, social and community projects have benefitted from co-creation, which involves stakeholders collaborating to address social issues or improve public services.
In sum, co-creation is really all about “seeing value from the eyes of stakeholders”. This idea emphasizes the understanding and meeting of stakeholders’ needs through collaborative practices. This approach is grounded in the belief that stakeholders are not only passive recipients of products and services but rather active participants who can contribute significantly to the value creation process. Key aspects of this idea include stakeholder-centricity, collaborative development, empathy and understanding, mutual benefit, innovation and relevance, agility and responsiveness, as well as the building of relationship and trust.


  1. Nadeem, W.; Juntunen, M.; Shirazi, F.; Hajli, N. Consumers’ value co-creation in sharing economy: The role of social support, consumers’ ethical perceptions and relationship quality. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change 2020, 151, 119786.
  2. Prahalad, C.K.; Ramaswamy, V. Co-creation experiences: The next practice in value creation. J. Interact. Mark. 2004, 18, 5–14.
  3. Wilkins, B.A. Co-Creation: History and Future of Collaborative Creativity. Available online: (accessed on 10 January 2024).
  4. Hubbert, A.R. Customer Co-Creation of Service Outcomes: Effects of Locus of Causality Attributions; Arizona State University: Tempe, AZ, USA, 1995.
  5. Kambil, A.; Friesen, G.B.; Sundaram, A. Co-creation: A new source of value. Outlook Mag. 1999, 3, 23–29.
  6. Voorberg, W.H.; Bekkers, V.J.; Tummers, L.G. A systematic review of co-creation and co-production: Embarking on the social innovation journey. Public Manag. Rev. 2015, 17, 1333–1357.
  7. Von Hippel, E. Democratizing Innovation; MIT Press: Cambridge, CA, USA, 2005.
  8. O’Hern, M.; Rindfleisch, A. Customer co-creation: A typology and research agenda. Rev. Mark. Res. 2010, 6, 84–106.
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