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Pro-creation vs. co-creation

September 5, 2009

When I first mention the term co-creation in a class or conference, at least one member of the audience, anywhere in the world, starts riffing on co-creation vs. pro-creation (the quasi-homonymy also works in other languages than English). This unavoidably triggers libido rushes in the group, accompanied by more or less graphic sexual images. I pretend I’ve never heard it before and we move on. Now, I know my audience is loose and engaged.

Prompted by this repeated early exchange, though, I started thinking of the actual similarities between co-creation and pro-creation. There are indeed some. First, you have to be in the mood. Yes, there are techniques of co-creation one can learn. (I’m thinking of publishing these under the title of the Kama-Sutra of Co-Creation). The book will offer a re-interpretation of some analytical tools such as “interaction maps” and “X maps”. I figure the “DART model” will be popular with men, while women may prefer “experience curves”. But none of these techniques amount to much without the desire of the two parties to co-create.

Second, there has to be a place for both co-creation and pro-creation to occur, an interaction platform of sorts. It doesn’t have to be the back of a car or behind a hay stack, but there needs to be a location where two or more people can have access to each other for an intimate dialogue in full transparency. Interaction platforms for both pro-creation and co-creation can be virtual, including web sites of various kinds, possibly supplemented by other more mechanical technologies. We encourage the use of videos to understand the true experience of the other party. Simulations can also play a role. Coaching is helpful. We also highly recommend community involvement because group activities add a new dimension to both co-creation and pro-creation.

Third, you have to be, huh, able. There is some plumbing involved, and if the plumbing does not work, there won’t be any co-creation or pro-creation. I’m afraid there’s no Viagra for co-creation (if there were, this is the business I’d be in, not this miserable teaching and consulting career). So your only chance is to get your body in shape through practice. Practice early and often. Keep the thought in your mind all day long.

At some point, I’ll have to let go of this parallel between co-creation and pro-creation. Under normal circumstances, I would now move to principle 4, which states that you should start by co-creating inside your organization before attempting to co-create outside. But my legal department advises me this could be narrowly interpreted as an encouragement to have sex at the office or sleep with customers, both of which are really bad ideas, so please scratch principle 4 from the list.

Overall, though, I must admit I was wrong. Co-creation and pro-creation are like twinnies.
One Comment leave one →
  1. David Butter permalink
    September 7, 2009 2:15 pm

    Sounds like you could be opening up a whole new market space!

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