5 Steps to connecting the best and brightest for expert co-creation
For the past 8 months I have been working at Fronteer as a Connector. And now you might be wondering: What exactly is a Connector? Great question! Because I have a truly unique job description. Let me share some in’s and out’s about being a Connector at Fronteer.
Before I dive into the Connector job, let me introduce the unique Fronteer approach. We are experts in the field of collaborative innovation. This means that we apply co-creation in our projects to accelerate positive impact.
So what makes the Fronteer approach unique? At Fronteer we don’t just seek for inspiration and expertise from your obvious industry, but we select the very best people from various industries whose experience, perspective and input will contribute to crack the particular challenge.
And this is where we as Connectors come in. As Connectors we are responsible for selecting the best and brightest people and creating the best possible mix of perspectives in our co-creation sessions.
The Connector job
To find the best and brightest, we need to be always up to date with trends. For this, we take regular deep dives in industries by doing field- and desk research. But most of our time is spent looking for experts to involve in our co-creation sessions. We seek surprising connections between different industries to spark inspiration and innovation.
For example, for our client Skoda we invited the Global Marketing Manager of Tommy Hilfiger. Mobility and fashion are totally different industries but might be a perfect match when it comes to inspiration, that’s the power of co-creation. Sometimes it can be challenging to build bridges between different industries, topics or companies but that makes our job so interesting, creative and never dull.
Okay, I understand now that you want to know how we build these bridges and how we find the very best people to help solve client challenges. For this, we use a five-step process:
- Challenge – understand required expertises
After our deep-dive into the challenge, we are ready to define different perspectives, expertises and angles to approach the challenge. We make sure the different perspectives complement and challenge each other, to create the most interesting mix for co-creation.
- Detective work – find experts – any means necessary
We don’t work with a predefined database. For each new challenge, we organise a brainstorm session with our team of 6 Connectors to make use of our personal network and in-house knowledge. In the end, we prefer our personal network for finding the right experts, but we also find our experts by searching on LinkedIn, social media, Blendle or broadcast platforms such as Tegenlicht or documentaries.
- Conversation – are you the perfect fit for the challenge?
We call everyone on our long list to get to know each other better. The whole point is to involve individuals whose backgrounds and experience somehow connect to the challenge. But just as important: is someone creative, open to new ideas, constructive. Personal characteristics can greatly influence dynamics in a group and therefore the co-creation process.
- Rounded group – all perspectives on board
Before creating the final group we do a final check to make sure that we covered the different perspectives and that the group is balanced in terms of knowledge and character traits. A well-rounded group ensures those fresh perspectives on your business will guide you in the right strategic direction.
- Re-contact – stay in touch and send updates
We ask our clients for updates on the project progress that we can share with the experts that participated in co-creation. By doing this, we provide experts with insight into what their input actually meant for the project and how our clients brought it further. So in fact: we always try to ‘close the loop.’
Would you like to join one of our co-creation sessions? Contact me!