Value of Co-Creation for Learning

Co-creation is a complex, value-based, context-driven and collaborative effort to develop new paradigms, products and services to satisfy human wants. Co-creation is built not only around the perceptions of challenges, cause-and-effect relationships and constraints, but also around available alternatives for dealing with or overcoming those challenges.

Co-creation is not about transferring or outsourcing activities and neither is it about the customization of products and services. This paper seeks to shed light on the meaning, importance and basic aspects covered under co-creation for learning in organizations.

It mainly focuses on the conceptions of Experiential Learning, Action Learning, Outward Bound Learning Methodology and Living Labs.


The importance of innovation is growing in this complex competitive world. Competition is forcing organizations to give more attention to the needs of customers. In this present scenario, organizations are facing constant pressure to innovate in order to survive in market.

As they increase their efforts towards innovation, return of efforts largely depends on how well they remain connected with stakeholders, viz.

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customers, suppliers and partners. Organizations need to become a part of this network as they manage interdependence with stakeholders to promote value proposition.

Giving more choices to their customers without compromising on quality at an affordable price poses complexity for organizations. Organizations are increasingly seeking out various means of working, analysing, thinking as well as designing various means of meeting customer demands (Sheth et al. 2000). Organizations play a very crucial role in the process of value creation.

Sawhney et al. (2005) view organizations as catalysts that essentially enable, shape, and accelerate value creation.

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Co-creation is a medium to improvise innovation and value creation capability in an organization along with fostering customer relationships (Sawhney et al. 2005). The advantages of value creation are better product quality, greater customer satisfaction, and reduced organizational risk.

Co-creation is a sophisticated, value-based, context-driven, collaborative effort to develop new paradigms, products and services to satisfy human wants. “Necessity is the mother of invention” and co-creation happens as a response to the complexity of fundamental requirement to survive in competitive world.

To implement co-creation in an organization, it is necessary to tag on to collaborative culture (Owen et al. 2008). Creation of collaborative culture requires creative thinking in solving problems, leadership, knowledge management, institutionalized learning, experiential learning, communication, quality management, and continuous improvement in an organization (Roser et al. 2013).

Today, the success of most organizations is dependent on consumer’s involvement. Active consumers are well aware that they too can contribute to value creation at certain points of exchange. This has led to responsive consumer behavior which in turn leads to open innovation and consequently, co-creation.

Co-creation takes place as collaboration between the company and the consumer and is in turn exchanged with the consumer. This depicts that there has been a paradigm shift to the experience-centric view of value from a product-centric or service-centric view involving improved communication between the company and its consumer. Here, it is clear that the organizations are prioritizing consumer end experience.

At present, traditional pedagogy is overruled due to the emerging knowledge-based economy and creativity met at its best. There is a requirement of new learning and teaching methods.


Co-creation has been defined differently by different authors.

According to Roser et al. (2009), co-creation includes sharing of ideas, exchange of information and united efforts. Philler et al. 2011, has defined co-creation as an active, creative, and social collaboration process linking producers and consumers, aided by the organization.

Roser et al. (2013) define co-creation as “an interactive, innovative and collective process that involves stakeholders who are initiated by the organization at different stages of the value creation process.”

Prahalad and Ramaswamy define co-creation as a “business strategy that stresses on the creation and growing recognition of customer value.”

Experiential Learning—A Theoretical Framework

Many organizations have gradually started to implement learner-centred approaches like flexible delivery and technology-enhanced learning. Hence, it becomes important to appreciate experiential learning. Experiential learning was initially acknowledged by Kolb (1971).

Experiential learning sees the learner from the cognitive, emotional, and physiological outlook, and as being ardently involved in learning process. This approach brought about holistic and experiential-based learning in which learners should be supported to learn from their unique experiences.

We can define experiential learning as a process in which learners are encouraged to fathom their actions, reactions, observations, and perceptions of a particular situation. This can be accomplished by the participants by directly sharing any of their experiences or by taking part in role plays (related to some facts, incidents, etc.) so that the other members can assimilate the situation in detail and improve their appropriate competence.

The figure below represents an experiential learning model which is based on Gibson et al. (1985) perception process model and Massaro and Cowan’s (1993) information processing models. The model has five predominant components (from left to right): (1) stimuli (2) our senses (3) the filtering process (4) interpretation (5) response(s).

Figure 1: Experiential Learning Model (Source: The learning combination lock an experiential approach to learning design)

Learning is essential for co-creation. A culture of creative thinking, learning from concrete experiences, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation needs to be strengthened. Leaders need to be sensitive to the individual differences in

learning and problem-solving. Research clearly demonstrates that co-creation can be analysed systematically using appropriate learning theories and built to develop capacity for co- creation.

Action Learning

Action learning has also become one of the most widely used instructional methods for management development in both public and private organizations. The growth of action learning is attributable to the notion that participants’ best learn new behaviours and problem- solving skills through real-world issues.

Action learning has a variety of contexts and applications. For example, Mellon Financial Services used an action learning program to overcome resistance to change due to organizational restructuring. General Electric used action learning to train business strategists to more effectively penetrate international markets.

Today, organizations have also started to adopt action learning as a human resource development intervention to be used in combination with other organizational interventions for “organization development, management development, team building, and transformative learning”.

Action learning is an approach pioneered by Revans. According to him, learning can be witnessed only through some form of noticeable change in behaviour. Change is essentially a process involving learning and action. Without learning there can be no action; without action there can be no proof of learning. Action learning is primarily a way of managing change through a learning process.

Figure 2: Action Learning (Source: Action learning revisited)

Outward-Bound Learning Methodology (OBL)

OBL is one of the oldest learning methodologies. OBL programs today have become a popular technique for training participants by directly involving them in the training process.

OBL programs offer training in a simulated and motivated environment. The framework of these programs create a series of intense, life-like experiences, and simulations that involve participants by enabling them to explore their mental and physical capacities, which have perhaps been eroded over the years. OBL programs are therefore known to bring out major turn-around in people’s lives.

Living Labs

A living lab is a research concept. It is a user-centred ecosystem, often operating in a territorial context (e.g., city, agglomeration, and region), integrating concurrent research and innovation processes within a public-private-people partnership.

A living lab is a real-life test and experimentation environment where users and producers co- create innovations in a trusted open ecosystem that enables business innovations.

Companies enter open innovation networks to create, acquire, and integrate diverse knowledge, resources, and skills required for innovating products, services, and technologies. One of the most recently emerged and rapidly growing open innovation networks is the living labs model.

Living labs are distinct open innovation networks characterized as experimentation environments and co-creation ecosystems for human-centric research and innovation. They are physical regions or virtual realities where stakeholders form public-private-people partnerships of firms, public agencies, etc., all collaborate for creation, validating, and testing of new technologies, services, products, and systems in real-life contexts. The benefits of open innovation include improved user value and innovation performance.


The above learning methodologies are critical in the enhancement of the effectiveness of co- creation where the involved people have to learn in their own way, new methods, practices of thinking, articulating, and documenting their thoughts and ideas and creating new products and processes.


  • Akhilesh, K.B., 2017. Co-Creation and Learning. In Co-Creation and Learning (pp. 45-54). Springer, New Delhi.
  • Owen, H., 2008. Spirit: Transformation and development in organizations. Abbott Pub.
  • Payne, A.F., Storbacka, K. and Frow, P., 2008. Managing the co-creation of value. Journal of the academy of marketing science, 36(1), pp.83-96.
  • Prahalad, C.K. and Ramaswamy, V., 2004. Co-creation experiences: The next practice in value creation. Journal of interactive marketing, 18(3), pp.5-14.
  • Roser, T., DeFillippi, R. and Samson, A., 2013. Managing your co-creation mix: co-creation ventures in distinctive contexts. European business review, 25(1), pp.20-41.
  • Sawhney, M. and Prandelli, E., 2000. Communities of creation: managing distributed innovation in turbulent markets. California management review, 42(4), pp.24-54.
  • Sheth, J.N. and Uslay, C., 2007. Implications of the revised definition of marketing: from exchange to value creation. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 26(2), pp.302-307.

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Value of Co-Creation for Learning. (2019, Nov 30). Retrieved from

Value of Co-Creation for Learning

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