“We are creating an ecosystem. We do not want to just provide technology. We want to be a member of the co-creation team.”
These were the words of Fujitsu President Tatsuya Tanaka as he addressed his keynote audience at Fujitsu Forum 2017.
The world, he said, is becoming increasingly complex – and our vision for the future embraces this complexity.
Watch the opening keynote on digital co-creation from Fujitsu Forum 2017:
The key to success in the future will not be determined by our actions alone.
It will have a lot to do with how we collaborate and create new things together – building, as President Tanaka said, an ecosystem.
In an ecosystem, your future depends on the survival of those around you. You adapt and change as they do. This is one of the key principles behind co-creation.
Co-creation also mitigates the fear of failure that might otherwise hold organisations back from innovation. Duncan Tait made this point as he joined President Tanaka onstage.
Because of this, we put co-creation at the heart of everything we do – including Forum itself.
The event was a great example of co-creation in action, as 10,000 visitors from over 50 countries attended to share ideas and innovations.
In this blog post I’m going to look at three key lessons for co-creation success, drawn from the real-life examples I saw at Forum.
For more insight into co-creation at Fujitsu Forum, watch the highlight video:
1. Listen to your customers/end users
The best co-creation projects seek advice and feedback from stakeholders.
We saw this in one breakout session about mastering business innovation at Heathrow.
The Heathrow team collaborated with the community of Fujitsu Distinguished Engineers and asked passengers and airport staff what they wanted to change.
This resulted in a hugely successful new piece of tech – the digital ear – which will make the airport more efficient and save fuel consumption by detecting malfunctioning equipment before it fails.
Similarly, the Workplace Security session provided some great insight into the value of listening to your end users and pointed out the danger in not listening.
If you don’t pay attention to the way your users want to work, the panel concluded, they will simply go around you.
This could make your systems vulnerable, so it’s always best to build in the features users need so they aren’t forced to find their own way.
2. Don’t hold back – build strong partnerships
As I mentioned earlier, the interesting thing about an ecosystem is that everything is inter-dependent.
This means that you can’t be afraid to build close relationships with your partners.
In some cases you’ll need them close, so you have to be open to sharing data and resources.
The breakout session ‘Banking on the Digital Office’ was a great case study for this.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)’s Head of Digital Office Steve Wood described the long relationship between RBS and Fujitsu as a marriage: rocky at times but ultimately supportive.
The session on putting data at the centre of digital transformation with Fujitsu and NetApp was another demonstration of an effective partnership.
Representatives from both companies discussed the way they combine capabilities: NetApp’s expertise in smart data management and data fabrics alongside Fujitsu’s systems, cloud and managed service portfolio.
Together the two are greater than the sum of their parts: a great basis for co-creation.
3. Have a meaningful goal in mind
There should be a genuine purpose behind co-creation.
You and your partners should have a collective goal that fills a real gap in the ecosystem – something that would be impossible to achieve alone.
Intelligent packaging involves placing RFID labels into the packaging itself, meaning stock is connected to the internet of things and can be located at all times.
This was, in the words of Fujitsu executive Olli Anderson, “a true example of co-creation,” because no single company can achieve end-to-end intelligent packaging on its own and it has huge value to the manufacturing and retail industries.
Another example of tech that has been co-created for a common good is the drowsy driver kit – a wearable produced by Fujitsu in collaboration with Amey to monitor drivers and ensure they’re not too tired to operate a vehicle.
This project has a clear purpose underpinning it: saving lives by preventing accidents on the road.
4. Bonus tip: have fun!
Finally, a quick bonus tip also emerged from co-creation at Fujitsu Forum:
Co-creating should be fun.
It’s not often we get the chance to work with new people to develop exciting original ideas.
If you’re doing it right, it should be enjoyable.
We put this principle into action at Forum this year as we used co-creation to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest animated computer tablet mosaic, which was, as you can imagine, very fun.
Co-creation will be the only path to success in the highly complex world of future business.
We’re quickly reaching the limit of what we can do alone, so you need to make sure you can collaborate effectively with others.
Fujitsu Forum was full of great examples of how to manage this.
It all comes together when you have a meaningful goal, listen to your users, build effective partnerships, and – importantly – have fun.
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