Customer Co-Creation: A Typology and Research Agenda

Authors: Aric Rindfleisch and Matthew S. O’Hern
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Summary: Traditional marketing thought and practice largely views new product development (NPD) as an internal firm‐based process in which customers are relatively passive buyers and users. This traditional paradigm is currently being challenged by a new perspective in which customers are active co‐creators of the products they buy and use. In this paper, we identify the origins of this paradigm shift, present a conceptual typology of four different types of co‐creation activity, and offer an agenda for future research of this emerging paradigm.


  1. karl long said...

    you guys might be interested in a presentation I gave at a couple of conferences last year called "Employing your customers for fun and profit"

    My main idea is that as companies benefit more and more from customer sourced co-creation, you can derive more sustainable benefits by treating the customers as pseudo employees. With this in mind it's worth going back and looking at employee motivation theory and understand how to provide the right intrinsic motivators to drive valuable behavior.

    Theories that influenced me in this area include Hertzbergs two factor theory of motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and the concept of how corporate culture is a often a tacit driver of behavior.

    A couple of other contemporary thinkers in this area are Clay Shirky and Lawrence Lessig.  

  2. John Rotheray said...

    Thanks for the great links Karl and nice preso on slideshare.

    I agree with you that co-creation is strongly motivated by theories of need and satisfaction.

    Many people who co-create feel like they are in a state of "flow". I think that goes back to Hertzberg's theory too. These people are satisfied because it’s fun to be recognized for designing a t-shirt on threadless or help achieve Wikipedia's mission.  


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