All posts by rsmstudent

Dutch ‘Polderen’ as the Foundation of Co-Creation – Example of the Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth

What about co-creation being a Dutch invention? Already for decades, complicated issues in the Netherlands are being solved in a process in which politics, employers, and labor unions are collaboraitng. This process is in Dutch also known as ‘polderen’. Unfortunately, there is not proper translation for that, but there is a definition available: “‘polderen’ is to seek a compromise (particularly but not necessarily, within a political context) in order to come to an agreement”. Polderen is a typical Dutch concensusmodel. This ‘polder-model’ is deeply embedded in the Dutch society. The fact that this concensus-approach is so typical for the Netherlands, helped the fast integration of co-creation in that country. But what differentiates this ‘polderen 2.0’? Let us discuss this based on a typical Dutch example.

Polderen 2

The Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth is a good example of co-creation in which the initiative wasn’t provided by the government, but by society. Recently, 40 organisations from economy, industry, labor unions, politics, and environmental parties signed an agreement about the use of energy in the Netherlands. Until then, there was a lot of dissatisfaction within society about the ongoing energy policy; it was not ambitious enough and was very often subject to change. With the guidance of the Sociaal Economische Raad (Social Economic Counsil; SER) and Nederland Krijgt Nieuwe Energie (New Energy for the Netherlands; NKNE) foundation there were active discussions and negotiations between all different parties.

Critics thought this again was the traditional ‘polderen’. However, there were some clear distinctions this time. First of all, there were many more parties involved in this process, second the initiative was not political, thirdly it was highly transparent, and finally the process was much more complex than previous ‘polder’ issues.

In the beginning of this blogpost I mentioned the term ‘Polderen 2.0’. This term seems to be correct. A ‘polder-model’ means that every stakeholder brings up his own concerns and try to get to the best outcome through intense negotiation. However, in co-creation there is an overall goal, exceeding all individual concerns. The collective group of parties, or the society has a certain concern for its own. ‘Polderen’ means that all parties agree on an outcome with which all indidvidual parties agree based on their own concerns and goals. In a co-creation process, all actors act not only based on their own perspective, concerns and needs, but also in favor of the collective interest.

In many parts of the creation of the Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth, there really was co-creation instead of the traditional ‘polderen’. This example shows that co-creation can also exist in society, politics and industry. Co-creation goes far beyond the current digital landscape and is always based on several parties. The Dutch showed that co-creation can also be based on a consensus-based discussion, and can be used to achieve a higher goal. So thanks to the Dutch for creating ‘polderen 2.0’, also known as the foundation of co-creation.

De Herontdekking van de Polder in De Groene Amsterdammer, 23/10/2013

Crowdsourcing in co-innovation: a SAP HANA example

Let me start by saying something we all already know: in the current digital world, innovation is critical. Disruption from new agile competitors becomes a continuous threat for many businesses.

As we all expect, innovation needs fresh thinking, open minds, experiments and new approaches. In the last years many new technologies were launched. However, in many cases it is hard to unlock the full innovation potential of these technologies – such as data analytics, mobile and digital. To unlock this potential, I claim that within big firms innovation leaders need to lead this innovation and use dynamic new approaches to co-creation and collaboration.

A great example of such a dynamic new approach is crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a dynamic approach to the generation of ideas, without being bounded to traditional (firm) boundaries. Crowdsourcing gives the possibility to include input from the entire business ecosystem, which includes the input from employees, partners, suppliers and customers.

An excellent illustration of such corporate crowdsourcing is the SAP HANA Innovation Challenge. HANA is SAP’s in-memory database technology. Yearly, also this year, they organize a crowdsourcing contest. The SAP HANA Innovation Awards were designed to showcase and honor customers innovating with SAP HANA. Because current year’s contest is still active, I will illustrate this example based on the 2014 contest.

The contest was organized the following. Customers using SAP HANA in production were invidted to enter their innovation story in a certain category. 22 finalists were selected by public voting. The social buzz for the conteste hashtag #HANAStory generated over 6 million impressions on Twitter, 6.7 thousand votes and 76.1 thousand website visits. SAP User groups were invited to nominate judges and 11 judges reviewed and scored each of the 22 finalists using a score card to select the final winners. This lead to a massive attention to SAP HANA innovation and mulitiple ideas were executed and implemented on a larger scale.


The crowdsourcing contest at SAP is every year a great success, as illustrated with the 2014 example. For the innovation leaders willing to lead the innovation in this collaborative way, there are some important considerations:

1. Open up innovation processes to third parties
CIOs can open up their innovation process by partnering with third parties who share their aims and are prepared to collaborate. To identify potential allies, innovation leaders must study their partners’ portfolios to find common areas of interest.

2. Accede collective brainpower
If a small group starts to define innovation opportunities, it can result in a very narrow approach being taken. Opening up for a wider group can give you a greater diversity of input. It also can give you insight in the end-user experience.

3. Decide how to evaluate ideas
The end goal of idea crowdsourcing is to implement innovative ideas. To reach this goal, it is important to have a clear appraoch towards prioritizing and selecting the best ideas. In most cases such an approach consists of two stages: structuring and selecting.

What can innovation leaders learn from this blog?
Very straightforward, that the people at their organization,  and the people around their organization, are full of innovative ideas. It is key to find new ways to unlock the potential innovative value of these ideas and exploit it.
Innovation leaders should start experimenting now: where can crowdsourcing be used to move product/service/technology from a deployment to a genuine innovation?


Click to access 1310_Success_Stories_and_Lessons_Learned_Implementing_SAP_HANA_Solutions.pdf

The Dark Side of Customer Co-Creation

In this blogpost I will talk about the article “The dark side of customer co-creation: exploring the consequences of failed co-created services” by Heidenreich, Wittkowski, Handrich and Falk (2014).

Co-creation becomes more and more common. Co-creation can take place in product development and service development. The authors focus in this article on co-creation in services, whereas in services “innovation always starts with customers’ unmet needs” (Ostrom et al. 2010, p. 16). Co-creation is beneficially for both firms – which are able to adapt changes better to customer needs – and customers – who will be more satisfied because of more empowerment. However, more involvement asks for more contact points between the firm and the customer, which in turn leads to higher complexity of the process and service. And as we all know, higher complexity increases the risk of failure.

Whereas current literature emphasizes the positive effects of co-creation, this article highlights potential negative influences of co-created services. The authors conducted four studies to investigate this dark side of customer co-creation. In this blog post I will highlight the outcomes and implications of these four studies, without mentioning all methodological and statistical characteristics.


Study 1 + Study 2
The authors show that in case of service success, highly involved customers are more satisfied than customers who barely participated in co-creation. However, in case of failure, co-creation triggers a greater imbalance between customers’ expectations of delivery and the actual outcome. As a result, negative disconfirmation is enahnced, leading to a decline in satisfaction.

Service Recovery
After failure of service delivery, a firm must make up for its mistakes. The process of fixing failures is referred to as service recovery. Current literature even shows that sometimes customer satisfaction, customer loyaly, and customer repurchase intentions are higher after successful service recovery than if the service delivery was successful in the first time. The authors now include the degree of customer co-creation.


Study 3 + Study 4
The outcomes of studies 3 and 4 indicate that consumers who experience a mistake in the service delivery of a highly co-created servicetend t oblame themselves for the flawed outcome and thus feel a sense of guilt. In such cases it is best to have no recovery process at all to restore customer satisfaction.

The outcomes of this study lead to some interesting implications for managers. First it highlights the importance of awareness of the potential negative consequences of offering highly co-created services. However, because of the high potential positive influences, firms might want to offer highly co-created services. Therefor, firms should implement measuring indicators to minimize the change of co-created service failure caused by human mistakes. Because not all failure is inevitable, managers must focus on higher customer satisfaction along with the overall service. This can mitigate negative effects in case of  failures. The importance of a proper recovery system is highlighted in this research.

Finally, even though there exists a dark side in customer co-creation, managers must try to overcome these difficulties and create light in the darkness…

Heidenricih, S., Wittkowski, K., Handrick, M. & Falk, T. (2014). ‘The dark side of customer co-creation: exploring the consequences of failed co-created services’. Journal of the Academic Marketing Science.
Ostrom, A. L., Bitner, M. J., Brown, S. W., Burkhard, K. A., Goul, M., Smith-Daniels, V., et al. (2010). ‘Moving forward and making a difference: research priorities for the science of service’. Journal of Service Research, 13 (1), pp. 4 – 36.