Among the five principles that define the service design framework, cocreation is what transforms successful customer experience (CX) initiatives into game changers for the teams involved. When I ask service designers the leading driver to that outcome, they often say, “It’s about building relationships.” The human factor — more than tools — is a key differentiator here. And that is what cocreation is all about.

Cocreation Is Not Asking Customers To Design

The cocreation principle of service design states that to design or improve the experience of a service, you need to involve all its actors. Often organisations misunderstand that principle. Cocreating with customers does not mean asking customers to actually design the experience. It means engaging them actively in the design process — be it through participating in journey mapping sessions, interviews, observations, or feedback sessions on early concepts. Involving customers in different ways and at different moments in the design process ensures that the team working on designing the new service experience gathers the right insights on their experience, expectations, behaviours, and emotions.

Cocreation Requires A Deep Connection

Internal actors and partners taking part in a customer journey also need to be involved in the process. Let’s say you are working on redesigning the customer complaints journey for an insurance company. If service designers involve every actor of that journey, in addition to involving customers, they could be creating a team that includes various stakeholders: for example, the head of digital, head of marketing, customer service agents, complaints managers, back-end developers, and maybe someone from legal. This can be challenging because they all have different goals related to their roles and might not be used to working together. However, the magic really happens when they are able to reach the state of true collaboration and work together — cocreate — on a solution as a team.

Neuroscientists are able to show evidence of cocreation using brain imagery of people working on the same task. And teams reaching that state of deep connection know that when it happens, outcomes go beyond expectations. But that’s not all: The experience also generates unintended positive outcomes.

That is what I’m going to talk about during our CX EMEA forum. Curious to learn more? Join my keynote and the open discussion that will follow.