It sounds wonderful to co-create. It is. It merges the experience, value, expertise, and perspectives of different parties to create something new. It’s the Frankenstein Lab of business. It unlocks magic.

Like all goods things, it can also be abused. It can be manipulated into a lab where we pay minimum wages for sweatshop employees to enrich conglomerates. This tends to stifle innovation over time.

Co-creation truly steps into its own when the parties involved have well-defined boundaries. Boundaries create trust, enable respect and expect value. These three elements are critical for creation to be successful.

Boundaries in creation are determined by guiding principles. It offers an agreed upon interpretive framework that allows any party to raise concerns not based on assumptions or feelings, but breaches in mutually agreed principles.

This feels like work. We just want to get started with creating something amazing. Let’s not waste time on this nonsense. You could, and most do. This is easy to manage when the co-creation does not lead to anything significant. It’s much harder to manage memories and expectations when you are successful.

Create principles to guide the discussion.

Danny Feng

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