Community-Powered Problem Solving

all coMpanieS—even thoSe in entirely B2B, brick-and-mortar in- ... For arTicle reprinTs call 800-988-0886 or 617-783-7500, or visiT hbr.org .... center hospital Moinhos de Vento the citizens of southern Brazil. (particularly the poor) lacked.
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Spotlight on Managing the crowd

Community-Powered Problem Solving A health care initiative shows how brick-andmortar businesses can co-create solutions with their partners and change the rules of the game. by Francis Gouillart and Douglas Billings

This article is made available to you with compliments of Harvard Business Publishing for your personal use. Further posting, copying or distribution is not permitted.

Spotlight on Managing the Crowd

Spotlight

This article is made available to you with compliments of Harvard Business Publishing for your personal use. Further posting, copying or distribution is not permitted.

For article reprints call 800-988-0886 or 617-783-7500, or visit hbr.org Artwork Jacob Hashimoto, Infinite Expanse of Sky, 2008–2009, acrylic, paper, thread, bamboo, Studio La Città, Verona, Italy

CommunityPowered Problem Solving

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Photography: Michele Sereni

A health care initiative shows how brick-and-mortar businesses can co-create solutions with their partners and change the rules of the game. by Francis Gouillart and Douglas Billings

All companies—even those in entirely B2B, brick-and-mortar industries—are now in a Facebook-like business. Their leaders have to be community organizers who strive to engage the customers, suppliers, employees, partners, citizens, and regulators that make up their ecosystems. A good way to do that is to provide those stakeholders with the means to connect with the company—and with one another—and encourage them to constantly invent new ways to create value for their organizations and themselves. This approach is a radical departure from the old way of managing constituencies through specific processes: marketing and selling to customers, procuring from vendors, developing human resources policies for employees, and so on. The problem with traditional processes is that they don’t naturally evolve, since their

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April 2013 Harvard Business Review 3

This article is made available to you with compliments of Harvard Business Publishing for your personal use. Further posting, copying or distribution is not permitted.

Spotlight on Managing the Crowd

objective is repeatability and compliance, not continual adaptation. Inviting constituencies to collectively solve problems and exploit opportunities is a better strategy. We call this approach co-creation. It’s a new form of competing, one we described in “Building the CoCreative Enterprise” (HBR October 2010). As consultants, we have helped more than 30 organizations— in financial services, agricultural products, sports equipment, health care, and other industries—go down this path. In addition, we have studied some 200 other co-creation efforts. (See the exhibit “Who Is Co-Creating?” for a sample.) In this article we’ll show you how to begin this journey, by telling the story of a work in progress: the co-creation program that the Medical Surgical Systems unit of Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) has been working on for nearly two years.

The Building Blocks

The first step in building a co-creation system is identifying a large problem that you need the help of many people from different organizations to solve. Then, to kick off the design stage, a company’s leaders should ask these five questions: 1. What community of individuals from inside the company and across external stakeholders do we need to connect to solve this problem? 2. What platform (physical or digital forum) does this community need to start connecting in new ways? 3. What new interactions will community members want to engage in on the platform to design a solution? 4. What valuable professional experiences will the members get out of these interactions? 5. What value will this new set of expe