graphAccording to a study by Darren Lewis & Koen van der Wal, “Co-Creative” is expected to be one of the key buzz words of this year. A term refreshed as a result of web 2.0 technologies, it means that internet communication channels have created an environment where providers and clients are working closer.

Customers are more informed, knowledgable and are able to instantly access the reactions of others; all of which contribute to the creation of a sharp, insightful and increasingly valuable customer.

Using techniques involving crowdsourcing and community, customers are actively involved in the shaping of products and services. This improves customer loyalty, improves the creative process and helps satisfy the demands of a more innovation-thirsty customer.

The effect of co-creativity on research is potentially vast. The web is quickly becoming the standard platform for research due to its speed, ubiquity and interactive sophistication. Communities are rising on the internet as people find it easier to find others that share their interests. These communities can be observed, analyised and communicated with easily, and their views and opinions researched.

And it is emerging that these communities are not driven by financial reward. People are eager to voice their opinions and willing to contribute – if they are given the chance. The web has already had huge success in harnessing the power of the crowd using crowd-sourcing.

The combination of co-creativity with new and exciting research possibilites is leading to the advent of “online co-creative research”. This is the amalgamation of qualitative and quantitative methods into a research method that can back up insightful research with representative demographic numbers. And the great thing about this relationship is that this research is fast and caters for the evolving environment we now find ourselves in.

Correctly encouraged, and properly listened to, we can really engage with others and see a massive increase of the value of online communities.