This is the third in a series of question-and-answer blog posts with the CEOs of the vendors included in my recent Forrester Wave™: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 (blog and report).

Today we’re talking with Bastian Unterberg, CEO of jovoto GmbH.  Jovoto, a Berlin-based firm, was identified as a "Leader" in that report.

Doug:    Co-creation contests are a new opportunity for product strategy professionals to solve business challenges, but many people are unfamiliar with them. What is your “elevator pitch” to potential clients about co-creation contests and the benefits they deliver?

Bastian:     By providing a social and collaborative work environment, jovoto motivates creative communities and enables them to collaborate, driving better results.  Organizations are able to access these communities and their members to solve creative and innovation needs.

Benefits to product strategy and other professionals involved in the innovation process are:

  • Better results. A vast amount of diverse, independent talent which collaboratively, simply, delivers better creative results.
  • Unlocking the art of the possible. New and refreshing perspectives, filtered through a peer review process, explore a diverse set of solutions. A collaborative process facilitates solving complex problem.
  • Insight. Feedback captured throughout the creative process delivers valuable insights about the results and help clients make more informed creative decisions.
  • Savings. Due to the reduced complexity of the creative workflow, projects get done at a highly competitive price.

Finally, large-scale challenges open the creative process to a broader audience. The result is an online media event that generates content and leverages participants’ social media capacity.  Clients can benefit by earning media and testing their ideas.


Doug:    Why should product strategy professionals consider co-creation a business imperative at this point in time?

Bastian:     Product strategy professionals should consider using co-creation to improve their business in order to cast a wider net for new ideas and insights. Organizations need great ideas and the right insights. Having great talent within an organization’s four walls is necessary but not sufficient. The same holds true with regards to traditional agency or design relationships. The ability to tap into a large, diverse creative talent pool not only allows an organization to expand its net for innovative ideas but can also provide a first lens into what will or won’t work in the marketplace based on feedback.


Doug:    Our clients often want to prove ROI before pursuing new engagements. How do you help clients prove ROI for co-creation contest projects?

Bastian:     Clients should evaluate the ROI for creative projects by looking at their current investment in not only the ideation phase of the product or creative life cycle but also in the cost and return downstream. A yardstick that can be helpful in the innovation phase is to measure the cost per idea. During the ideation phase, co-creation contest projects deliver tens to hundreds of ideas, a vast amount of comments and tens of thousands of ratings. The volume of ideas show various solution paths to fulfill the task; comments and evaluation from a large community can help focus on ideas that will work. In general, the cost per idea at this stage should be substantially lower than the traditional approach to innovation. Secondly, organizations should consider how many ideas are successfully launched through traditional approaches and through co-creation. Allowing a broader audience to review concepts during the ideation phase should result in risk-reduced decision making and improved rates through the prototype, production and launch cycles.


Doug:    Last question: How is your business evolving to meet clients’ future needs for co-creation?

Bastian:     We recognize that leading organizations are looking for the optimum way to leverage their internal talent and access external talent. We are continually developing our platform and processes to integrate client’s internal creative talent base with our co-creation creative community. We believe that outperforming organizations are learning to use new tools to access an ecosystem of creative communities and leverage the collaborative processes to deliver improved innovative results. And, as we provide our platform to support other creative communities, we are improving access for our clients to tap into not only the jovoto creative communities but many others using the same co-creation approach.

With regards to the platform itself, we are continually focused on ways to improve collaboration on the platform through a variety of mechanisms. And, we believe that improving how we measure creative performance and collaboration on the platform will lead to better performance and social interaction – ultimately, providing better results to clients.


Next up: Answers to the same questions from François Pétavy, CEO of eYeka.