We Live in industrialised times: everything is following the strict industrial standards set over 150 years ago by the industrial revolution.
Mass production and the need to have standardised process, where one fit all, created a society that has tried to convince us that there is one way to do things right, that there’s one solution to a problem, one right perspective, one direction.
Multiple directions, different choices, and different paths would have been detrimental to an industrial society, which needed conformance and standards to deliver its goods and create the cultural and economic system we are all imbued with today.
To reach the largest number of people, everything has been industrialised: processes, production, creativity, and education.
To let the economy flourish and capitalism grow to its point of self-destruction, we have been framed to enjoy the illusion of the illusional choices we have been given, considering them alternatives. But the very moment we have a set of predetermined alternatives, we have been taken away the ability to chose and to create.
The educational system, in its attempt to educate the largest population, played a key role in the limitation of individual thoughts and creativity: at school everyone studies the same subjects, is scored on the right answer, goes throughout the same process where we are well required to conform, to chose the right answer and when we give an unexpected answer, or we show our creative side, we create panic and may end up being punished.
But people are creative: we all are creative and that unleashed potential is latent and asking to be liberated.
The growing number of online creative productions demonstrates the very human need to express our individuality and to provide our very personal answer to the world.
Technology has opened up new opportunities and new ways to express who and what we are and to share it. Because creativity is a way to explore ourselves and it demands to be shared – not necessarily to get approval from the community at large. Creativity demands sharing to claim its existence.
A creative act that is not shared or put into its shape and form, simply does not exist.
Even if sharing or shaping our ideas will equal being ignored, the act of sharing legitimate our existence, like messages in the bottle. Sooner or later they might find a shore, and even if they don’t, the message exists. the message has taken the shape of a message.
This emerging need to express individuality, to overcome the industrialised culture and society we have been soaked into, is leading now to the emerging of online communities, where virtual and real are blurred dimensions, where there is no one answer, where exploring alternative answers is an opportunity, and more often than not, an intimate need.
People enjoy sharing their thoughts, providing their wrong answers, and collaborate to create something else, that is not the sum of individuals’ perspectives, but a new emerging view.
Co-creation is therefore not a fad, it emerges as a reaction to mono coloured industrialised culture where there was no room for wrong answers.
It emerges as a need to explore what ifs and as a consequence of the new dimensions we are allowed to explore through connectivity and the opportunity we have to share ideas with people and communities we have something in common with.
Co-creation derives from people desire to express their own personal views and to put those views into existence by sharing them. And because we are also social animals, we are happy to engage in conversations and reflections with others to better understand who we are as individual and as a collective group.
The act of co-creation is an act against the industrial culture of standardisation, it is an act against the right or wrong dichotomy, where for the only right answer we had countless of wrong ones.
Co-creation looks for the wrong answers to create new answers and to understand what was wrong in the right question.
The very moment we bring people together and ask them to express themselves freely, we encourage them to give us the wrong answers, we unleash years of wrong answers that were tapped into their minds – and people find out that they were not alone, the act of sharing brings into life countless alternative dimensions that are distant from the reality and shape a newer reality, they add something new to the reality they know, and by adding something new, being their views, interpretation, emotions, they in-novate, make something new.
And by letting people to explore their wrong answers, they will get to the right one. The more ideas they share, the closer they get to the newer vision – like in the wisdom of the crowds. Same in the co-creation experience.
Co-creation is the latest act against the industrialised era, a way to allow people to be creative and to express the wrong answers to create value for themselves – to make the world, or bits of it, closer to the wrong answer they always looked for.