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Is co-funding the next step to co-creation?

The co-creation philosophy tells us that we need to engage a range of stakeholders to create better ideas, innovations and ultimately, impact together.

We know that we build deep engagement with consumers through long-term relationships in our communities and through our bespoke workshop techniques. But what if we could go even deeper?

Deep enough to get consumers to not just tell us how they think, feel and behave – but deep down into the depths of their own pockets to support our projects.

So are you actually suggesting that we get consumers to pay for the production of the products they co-create?

Basically, yes! It’s not the first time we’ve brought investment into the equation either. Through our Prediction Markets tool, we’ve given community members the ability to back concepts they feel will succeed in-market by investing faux money or points. The results are exciting.

But are consumers ready to go from gamification to co-funding?

Well, there’s only one way to find out for sure, but the signs are there. Take Kickstarter.com, for example. It’s a website that allows anyone to invest in thousands of completely co-funded projects from around the globe. Members post their projects, along with their funding targets, and total strangers can invest their hard-earned cash in making the project a reality. If the project succeeds, backers usually receive a copy of what’s being made, a limited edition or a custom experience related to the project.

Imagine how powerful this tool would be if the potential investors weren’t strangers and friends, but a group of collaborators who had helped get the project to this crucial stage.

And that’s where we come in. We’ve got the innovations and, I’d wager, we’ve got the investors too. We know that community members and Big Talk attendees already invest their time, enthusiasm and creativity. Maybe now is the time to see if they’ll give us their financial backing too.

Sounds like fun, but has co-funding ever succeeded from a business perspective?

Yes. Enter Canadian rockers Protest the Hero, a band who have co-raised over $340,000 (at last count) to fund their new album via “the world’s funding platform,” indiegogo.com. How? All it took was an endearing appeal video, a starkly honest breakdown of fund allocation and an array of kooky experiential giveaways in denominations at which everyone could take part.

It seems to support the theory that engaged stakeholders (in this case, fans) will happily invest in a product (a new album) from a brand (or band) in which they feel deeply engaged.

So who’s with me?

If you’re an existing client or an organization looking to pioneer a new generation of co-created, co-funded innovation, get in touch!

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