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Design Process

Co-creating Prototypes with Clients & Stakeholders

Posted 1 month ago by Rich Crossley
Co-creating Prototypes with Clients & Stakeholders

Over the last decade, organisations and big business brands feel closer than ever before. You can now get a personal response in minutes from some of the biggest companies in the world by messaging their team on socials. And listening to user feedback isn’t where the company-user interactions end. Today more than 50% of Fortune 500 Companies have made co-creation a key part of their innovation strategy, actively involving feedback from engaged users in the futures of their products.

In a world where users are rightly expecting more from the products they use every day, closer collaboration with those users opens up a lot of possibilities. Rather than designing something with a fictional persona in mind, co-creation offers the possibility of working alongside your stakeholders and users to create something that exactly addresses their challenges.

Some of the biggest and best brands in the world are using co-creation. Here's our rundown of exactly what co-creation involves, and how to run your own co-creation process using Marvel.

What is co-creation?

Co-creation refers to inviting stakeholders (usually customers) to participate in a design or problem-solving process to produce an outcome that’s valuable for both parties. These outcomes can include product ideas, ways to overcome specific challenges, or even technical solutions to complex questions.

When Walkers crisps asked their customers to vote for their favourite new crisp flavours in their 2014 “Do us a Flavour” competition, that was an example of involving their customer-base to co-create their future products. Other light-touch examples would be musicians using social media to take fan suggestions regarding album titles, or football clubs asking for feedback on their rebranding efforts.

How companies have successfully adopted co-creation

Customer co-creation has led to some great innovations across many different industries. Companies like IKEA, DeWalt, Lego & Coca Cola have all used co-creation methods to improve their product branding and discover new markets.

In 2018, Swedish furniture and home goods retailer IKEA launched ‘Co-Create IKEA’, a digital platform where customers have the ability to help develop new products. If IKEA spots a successful design, they can license the technology or support the designer with investment for future products. The co-creation gives IKEA innovative new ideas, while offering an opportunity for designers to gain exposure through a household name.

Manchester City football club also followed, bringing co-creation to the core of their rebranding. Football supporters are incredibly loyal to their teams, this meant that any rebranding efforts or changes to the website had to be run by the devoted fans first. The club wanted to make overall improvements to its web and mobile presence. They adopted co-creation by launching several focus groups including surveys, user tests and prototype designs.

Together the club and its reliable followers co-created a mobile-first experience that better features relevant content with a fresh new design.

How to run a co-creation session in Marvel

While involving customers in the testing phase is valuable, the most worthwhile co-creation will often involve the customer right from the start, during the ideation and prototyping stages. Here’s how to do this in Marvel.

Assemble your group! - Adding your team members in Marvel. In the Team section, choose “Invite People” and input their email addresses and set their permission levels.

Workshop your ideas - Mixed.io brings the classic whiteboard experience to your screen without the need for hundreds of post-its. Allowing you and your participants to brainstorm in real-time in a virtual environment.

Free hand or online? - You can use our free printable Sketch Pad templates to workshop some of the design ideas you came up with, then using the Marvel iOS and Android app, take photos of your Sketch Pad designs to turn into an interactive prototype quickly. Or you can jump onto Marvelapp.com to use our in-built design tool to mock up some designs.

Validate your ideas - to share your prototype with others for feedback, share the public URL to your Marvel prototype, or use Marvel’s User Testing to get quick user feedback. Invite your co-creators to test the ideas they’ve created whilst gaining valuable video, voice and analytical feedback on designs and prototypes.

Top tips for your co-creation session

Recruit the right people - participants will be collaborating with you and others to build something or at least plan something. Figure out which of your stakeholders or users you’d like to invite. Co-creation sessions go most smoothly when participants are open-minded, confident in speaking up, and are good active listeners.

Get supplies ready - Usually, all the best brain storming and white-boarding sessions end up in a rainbow of post-it notes covering the walls. Make sure you have all the tools you and your co-creators will need to feel excited and engaged. Post-its and pens are a good start. Running the session virtually? Why not try a browser based white-boarding tool?

Set expectations - Some of your participants might not have experience a session like this before. Ensure that they feel comfortable being open and honest. It’s also worth validating that there are no silly ideas in the session; that they should focus on the possibilities rather than the limitations of what they’re designing.

Have a structure - You want to get lots of ideas from your co-creation session, and a good structure can help with this! It’s helpful to provide a framework for participants to build their ideas on. If they can answer the 5 W’s (who/what/where/when/why), they’re usually on the right track.

What’s the main problem they are trying to solve? Who are the designing this for? Where will they be using this? When will they use this?

Co-creation opens up the design process, encourages us to listen more, and often leads to a richer and more interesting end-product as a result. The tried and tested process reveals the long term value that can be found by creating your own co-creative communities, it can transform the relationship customers have with your brand by making them feel involved in your decision making.

Invite your users to have a seat at the table and they’ll often help you create exactly the product they want to use. What could be more useful than that?

Create a Marvel prototype today to start your co-creation journey.

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Design and prototyping for everyone

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Customer Experience Manager at Marvel

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