The core principle of co-creation is engaging people to create valuable experiences together while enhancing network economics (Ramaswamy & Gouillart 2010). A central element of the transition to co-creation is the ability to develop and manage effective two-way communications and information systems (Leavy 2011). The power of co-creation is applicable anywhere along the value chain and to any type of industry (Leavy 2011). Co-creation can apply to any business, large or small whose customers have experiences and interactions. Moreover, customer engagement can take many forms, from face-to-face meetings involving a handful of people to web-enabled, large-scale social interactions involving many thousands (Leavy 2011, Ramaswamy & Gouillart 2010). We are interested in expanding these concepts to all parts of society (e.g. the triangle market, (welfare) state, and civil society). Finding solutions to address societies’ challenges remains a concern for governments, cities, businesses and social innovators. These solutions emerge out of changes in technologies, advancement of knowledge as well as of the emerging model of the collaborative and sharing economy and networked peer local and global communities. This paper presents the outcomes of the Athens Co-Creation Workshop 2012) a collaborative initiative of two universities: the Panteion University; Athens and the Copenhagen Business School / Co-Creation of Experienced-Based Innovation Consortium (CCEBI); Copenhagen. Our main question is: How can co-creation and experience-based learning and innovation in Living Labs, across diverse sectors, organizations, institutions, companies and startups, help cities becoming platforms that facilitate networking, collaboration and innovation? Our main challenge is to explore such an opportunity regarding the city of Athens. Creating a human ecosystem reflecting all powers and involved stakeholders in such an endeavor, the workshop organizers and participants, following a co-creation and design thinking methodology, formed “ad-hoc” networks of reflective practitioners and researchers, experimenting with responding to the challenges set by the participants (the challenge “owners”). The paper presents the outcomes of applying co-creation and design thinking to solving the challenges presented by the Impact Hub Athens, a global social business incubator and co-working space that was testing its concept and business model as it was preparing its local launch in Athens; by working with challenges of branding Athens and using storytelling about Athens, and by testing the launch of the corporate university lab of Korres, a Greek skincare brand that has scaled up internationally. Given the different approaches to the notion of the co-creation of experience, we discuss the results of those co-creation sessions in terms of (a) the methodology applied, the participants’ experience of collaboratively solving a problem connected with a solution-space, (c) the lessons learned from the cases about emerging into a shared language, discourse, and action around the concept, and (d) the potential of co-creating on the basis of experienced-based learning and of innovating as a model for sustainable cities (and markets).
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The Seventh Art of Management and Organization Conference. 2014