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5 Types of experts you want in your co-creation session

The experts in your co-creation session are chosen to represent topical knowledge, industry experience and other relevant (user or value chain) perspectives. The goal is to assemble a group that collectively has the intelligence, perspectives, and knowledge in the room to crack the challenge. So, when developing, say, a new variety of “healthy snacking options for lunchbox use”, we not only have food technology experts, baking factory managers and marketers on the team but also, for example, chefs, moms, supermarkets buyers, food bloggers and teachers.

Although originally our group curation was based on common sense, gut feel and creativity, we’ve since identified a framework of five archetypal expert roles which we use to construct full-perspective teams. These roles can be taken by both internal and external participants.

The 5 types of experts

  • The Customer role represents the perspective of the beneficiary, or in modern marketing terms the “Target Audience”, for whom specifically we are conceiving the solution in question: moms, frequent flyers, beer lovers, young families, teachers, bartenders.

  • The Professor profile represents deep, factual, or conceptual knowledge. Sometimes this is an actual academic, although it can also be an informal expert, someone who “just knows everything about…”.

  • The Professional. Alongside theory and academic knowledge, we need experience: industry veterans, hardened entrepreneurs (or start-up aficionados). This is the group that understands business reality from the inside.

  • The Connector. This is the person who knows “who’s who’ and ‘what’s up”. A broad, cross-company industry perspective, up to date on gossip, trends, legislation, and developments. What has been tried before, what was (un)successful and why?

  • The Wild Card. Especially in future-oriented projects or when seeking to develop game-changing propositions, it is important to include an explicitly creative and independent thinker, without industry knowledge. The wild card “knows nothing” and is, therefore, free to ask painful questions, challenge preconceived notions and float crazy ideas.

Want a step-by-step guide on how to find, engage and involve the right (mix of) experts? Check out our book ‘Collaborate or Die’, available here.


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