Co-creation, innovation and new service development: the case of the videogames industry.

  • Jedrzej Czarnota

Student thesis: Unknown


Co-creation is a new approach to the development of videogames, films, television, music and other creative services. It is a manifestation of open innovation paradigm where the firm collaborates with customers in new service development (NSD) activities. Firm can either co-create with individual customers, or with customer communities. Customers may substantially contribute to ideation, design, production, testing, marketing or distribution of a new or existing service.Customer networks, because of their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, contribute to the development of services. They have a potential to innovate, as their ideas come from the outside of the organization and reflect their need-related knowledge. Via co-creation a firm can also learn about unarticulated or future customer needs, and what kind of service features they would pay the most for. Co-creation has also benefits for marketing. By inviting customers to participate in their activities, firms can capitalize on positive word of mouth and increased value ascribed to their services. They can also engage in new models of raising finance, i.e. crowdfunding.We studied thirteen videogames firms in North America and in Western Europe. Our goal was to gain insight into their NSD activities when customers were also involved. We observed those studios' co-creation practices, tracked their communications with customers, and spoke to employees in all levels and functions of those firms. We also participated in various related events. We identified three ideal types of co-creation practice: structured, semi-structured, and loose, and ordered the firms into three cases according to these types.We investigate the main factors that determine co-creation's practice in firms, as well as firms' ability co-create. This includes a firm's propensity for and style of co-creation. We identify four relevant co-creation competences which, together with funding arrangements and organizational culture, influence co-creation.We find that co-creation can occur via formal, as well as informal channels. Informal co-creation takes place on the level of individual interactions between employees and customers (and is linked to hidden innovation), while formal relies on the strategic use of contests, volunteer programs, as well as other legally-regulated exchanges.Firms can use co-creation in NSD to source ideas from the customers, as well as to enhance their marketing by redefining customer relationship. Still, co-creation also has a profound transformative effect on the organization itself.We identify the sites within a firm that are affected by co-creation. Those sites go beyond just the content of the service, and include functions of the firm that normally are hidden from customers (back-end and service design functions). The new service development is also affected. Similarly, the way that firm interacts with its customers is transformed, too.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIan Miles (Supervisor) & Maria Nedeva (Supervisor)


  • organizational transformation
  • crowdfunding
  • lead users
  • customers
  • community
  • organizational culture
  • open innovation
  • crowd
  • videogames
  • creative industries
  • new service development
  • service innovation
  • co-creation
  • game studios
  • case study

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