10 co-creation workshops that bring a new perspective to business models, customers and products

28 February 2020


Co-creation is a highly effective way to break down barriers standing in the way of digital innovation and business transformation. In practice, this approach takes the form of workshops where the key stakeholders come together to develop a new understanding, models, products and services.

These days it's not possible to stand in front of a whiteboard together, but that day will come again. So make time to decide which workshops you can start with after the quarantine. If you prefer not to wait with co-creation, you can of course start online. Feel free to contact our DXP team to get inspired.

Workshops promote commitment & buy-in

The great benefit of co-creation workshops is that they increase commitment and buy-in for the changes that come with digital innovation and business transformation projects. Thinking through specific issues and challenges together, in the process of which each individual has to opportunity to provide input, means you automatically create more support for change than when innovation and transformation are imposed from above in a top-down approach. Not only that, insights and ideas from a range of experts with different perspectives lead to better strategies, plans and actions. The co-creation process is also the ideal forum in which to utilize input from customers. It is important to include the results of customer surveys, satisfaction scores, historical customer data, web analytics, etc. as input to the various workshops.

What is possible in terms of workshops and scope varies enormously. Some have greater popularity due to their proven track record, are underpinned by academic research and give better results in practice. It should also be remembered that there's no such thing as a one-size-fits all that will suit every business and every digital challenge. So, how do you choose the right one for your business? Below, we give you an overview of the main, most successful workshop concepts that may be helpful to you, depending on the type of project or challenge.

New perspective on business models

A SWOT analysis is a well-established system that can be used to map out what is happening in your own organization and environment. Doing this analysis on a regular basis from different angles (marketing, sales, IT, Finance, HR, etc.) is an easy way to get a 360° view of your organization. The strengths and weaknesses within an organization are set against the opportunities and threats from outside the organization. This method is often underestimated, but it is still a quick and effective way of taking a reality check.


A SWOT analysis is also the perfect way to prepare for a Business Model Canvas workshop. On the basis of 9 dimensions/9 organizational building blocks, it zooms in on the options for optimization or innovation within a business or revenue model. It clearly identifies how value needs to be created and for which customers, how this can be delivered and how this added value can be turned into a revenue model. Questions about structure and organization to achieve these ends are also addressed in the workshop, as well as the costs associated with the value creation being sought. The Value Proposition Canvas is an extension to this approach that lets you zoom in on value creation in your business in more depth. Clearly identify for a specific customer segment what the customer wants/expects from your company, product or service. Identify what benefits (gains) and obstacles (pains) your customers experience when using your product or service. Once you're clear about customer needs/expectations, you can move to looking at whether your product meets those needs and expectations. As part of this, you can define what content, functionalities and arguments need to be added to the product, service or digital solution so as to assist the customer effectively and to further optimize the benefits for the customer (gain creators) and remove obstacles as far as possible (pain relievers).

The Business Model Navigator developed by St. Gallen University is a useful tool in gaining inspiration about new revenue and business models. This tool, based on years of research into the most profitable companies, identifies the 55 most important revenue models.

Get to know your customers better

A Persona workshop enables you to put a face to each target group or segment to help you better visualize and understand that target group. Persona types also feed in to the empathic capacity of stakeholders, enabling individuals to better identify with the experiences, needs, wishes and challenges for each target group. This method is most suited to B2C businesses, but there is also the option to work with B2B persona profiles.

Persona profiles can be used as input for Customer Journey Maps. These are used to identify the ways in which the customer comes into contact with your organization (customer touchpoints) and what is his or her experience at these various points of contact. This exercise helps you to identify the customer experience at different points of contact, both physical and digital, so that you can home in on where improvement is needed.


Are your solutions and associated functionalities still relevant?

A Production Vision Board helps you clearly and distinctly identify what the vision of your product/service or solution is. What is the ‘raison d'etre’ of this product? Which customer group(s) is it seeking to serve and what are the customer needs it answers? It is important to define here what tools, functionalities, content and offering you will use to create value for the intended customer group(s). Finally, it is of critical importance to set out product objectives and measurable KPI's. Objectives should be as specific as possible so that everyone is working toward the same ambition. As you can see, this exercise ties in closely with the Value Proposition Canvas, the results of which can be used as input for the exercise.

A Stop-Start-Continue exercise is a very interactive approach that helps in reaching a consensus on what content, features and experience a specific product or service needs to have and which are not relevant.

Ask the following questions:

  • What is OK and should be kept as is?
  • What is not working and needs to be changed or improved?
  • What new things need to be introduced?

A good way of setting priorities for all these ideas and concepts is to use a Dot Voting Workshop in which all participants have a limited number of votes they can use to indicate what they think are the most important ideas, concepts or functionalities. Dot Voting is a highly effective way to rank priorities. A second approach to achieving a realistic ranking is to use Impact/Effort Mapping the aim of which is to estimate for each idea how much effort (time, budget, integration) it would take to implement. At the same time, you also consider how much (positive) impact the idea would have on the customer experience and on value creation. Based on these two criteria you end up with quick wins, big projects, relatively minor to do’s and no go projects.

Go For It!

Each type of co-creation workshop has potential benefits for your business since every organization will find it useful to step back from the demands of day-to-day, operational reality. Map out on a regular basis where you are and what you need to change or even reinvent in the light of changed market conditions. There is no need to interrogate the entire business model every time; concentrate on specific markets, customer segments, products or services you want to innovate or transform.

In this blog series about adopting a digital mindset regarding your customer experience also appeared:

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