PRLog - April 24, 2009 - LONDON -- Promise Communities, a leading provider of private online communities, has helped create a new business concept with the Co-operative Group. The Co-operative Group, a £9 billion a year business with a raft of consumer brands, such as The Co-op, Somerfield and Smile, had an objective of launching a new business and a blank canvas to start from. The Co-operative was open for a genuinely innovative way to invent and design their new business.
In order to solve this challenge, Promise Communities developed the Co-operative Innovation Board: a private online collaboration community populated with a handpicked group of consumers who worked together for a period of five months to invent and design the new business.
The sample consisted of 500 nationally representative consumers. This group was supplemented by a segment of “creatives”:
The Promise Communities team of experienced consultants and moderators managed the community on a daily basis: creating brainstorms, debates and polls, facilitating and steering online live workshops, probing and analyzing data and conversations. The community was taken through a New Business Development process over the five month period:
The Co-operative Innovation Board generated over 18 vetted new business ideas which now populate the pipeline of The Co-operative Group. The Community prototyped three of these ideas and together we developed these into business plans which are currently being reviewed by the board for implementation. The Community proved particularly powerful in its speed and efficiency. It allowed Promise Communities and the Co-operative Group to go from a blank canvas, to three fully scoped business plans ready for board consideration in under five months. But more importantly, the innovation team were able to obtain high levels of internal buy-in by iteratively testing hypothesis and concerns brought up by Co-operative executives as they came up. But what made these ideas particularly unique is the fact that the consumer’s voice is woven into their very fabric.
Alan Shepherd, the Director of New Business Development at the Co-operative Group said, “The level of engagement by these consumers was phenomenal. They seemed to spend hours on end debating our issues and thinking about them. It was like adding 500 people to our workforce. So the quality and depth of ideas was impressive. Better than anything we could have hoped for.”
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Promise Communities specialises in online co-creation. They build and manage private online communities to solve brand, innovation and research challenges. Through these online communities, Promise Communities have revolutionised the way organisations and brands problem-solve, by bringing together customers, staff, stakeholders and experts to co-create solutions and innovations.