I first heard the word co-create about 10 years ago when I attended a Radical Leadership retreat. I was fascinated by it, and the idea of it immediately resonated. I’m delighted to see it has worked its way into the lexicon at the company where I work.
To me, co-creation is about sharing intentions, designing something in partnership, collaborating together as a team, and moving as one in the same direction. Co-creating is essential to move toward possibilities that we can see but don’t yet know how to achieve and possibilities that we can barely yet imagine.
Many organizations are co-creating with their clients, in large part due to what’s possible now with technology. Large global organizations are also exploring ways of working that encourage greater co-creation among employees from diverse backgrounds and with unique perspectives and experiences to create greater value.
I had the privilege this week to run a 3-day leadership event for 100 newly promoted executives. There was a lot of co-creating going on – among not only me and the incredible team of executives sponsors, executive faculty, executive speakers, leadership facilitators, and program staff who came together to create a signature experience for our colleagues, but also within the various home rooms where the participants were engaging in a variety of leadership activities. We started with some uncertainty, it got messy in the middle sometimes, and in the end it all came together in a powerful way.
At the conclusion of the event, I was left with an awesome feeling of success when one of the facilitators described the closing activities as ‘magical’. Our belief, our hope, and our moving collectively toward a transformational experience for our new executives took us where we wanted to go.
I’ve been reflecting on what made the experience magical, and below is a list of the rich and amazing things that created the sparks:
- Sharing personal stories, being vulnerable, opening up, communicating what has meaning, speaking truths
- Designing alliances, together shaping ways of engaging, defining an experience to be collectively created
- Sharing intentions, gaining clarity of purpose, identifying common outcomes
- Gathering in a circle, seeing each other, giving each other full attention, acknowledging the greatness and potential in each other, sharing the impact another has on us personally, being curious about one another’s perspectives, experiences, insights and wisdom
- Being aware, making space for mindful moments, waking up to possibilities, finding passion, generating energy
- Exploring ideas together, reflecting on what’s important, discovering meaning, seeing possibility
- Noticing our impact, taking ownership, being response-able, forming commitments, making aligned choices, taking inspired action
As I head into a fresh new week, I’m curious, how can I bring more of the magic of co-creation into my life and work. Here are the questions I’ll be encouraging me and my partners to ask ourselves:
- What is our intention?
- What is the outcome we’re looking for?
- How do we move forward together?
- What will we commit to?
- How will we show up?
- What choices will we make?
- What actions will we take?
Are you co-creating? What does it look like, feel like, sound like? What’s possible because of it? What’s the magic for you? I’d love to hear from you.
* Photo: Library of Celsus Ephasus Turkey, by Vicki Flaherty, August 2012 (I can imagine the amazing co-creation experience of creating this amazing structure in 120 AD.)