Can you spot all five benefits of complete co-creation in this real-life example?

The following is a short interview with Rutger Peters, co-founder and Company Dean of Gynzy.com. Gynzy develops online software for digital school boards. It is one of those companies we admire, because of their commitment to continuous collaboration with end-users. The article is taken from our new book ‘The 7 Principles of Complete Co-creation’.

While you are reading, try to recognize how Gynzy is profiting from the five benefits of complete co-creation: 1) relevance (maximization of relevance, recognition, and appeal of the solution), 2) marketing (maximization of marketing impact and credibility), 3) motivation (maximization of involvement and motivation), 4) efficiency (minimization of pivots), and result (maximization of financial and other intended outcome).

Continuous collaboration with end-users helped Gynzy make the digiboard more relevant

Gynzy, founded in 2009, develops online software for digital school boards. Rutger Peters: “We came from the online casual gaming world and wanted to use our knowledge and experience to aid the digitization of primary education. Because we didn’t know anything about education, our first step was to seek direct contact with teachers, children, and their parents, as well as school principals and education experts.

Quickly, we noticed that digiboards had successfully taken over the old-fashioned blackboards, but were hardly ever used to their full potential. We decided to make it our mission to drastically simplify digiboard use and make relevant content readily accessible. It took four months of intense immersion in the world of teachers and children to really grasp the needs. Because we took so much time to do this, the development phase was a breeze. On January first, 2010, we started programming, and half March we had a running prototype.

A group of 1000 teachers actively worked with the prototype between March and the summer vacation. We spent hours in classrooms observing, and we integrated large feedback buttons in the prototype, which generated a continuous stream of points for improvement. Thus, we were able to realize a perfect fit between the software and teacher needs. This approach also yielded new ideas for digital content. For instance, teachers asked us to develop something to put pupils in the spotlight on their birthday. We built a fun application which had children blow out virtual candles on a birthday cake. That is now our most popular app! Around thirty percent of our digiboard software is filled in with stuff like that, which is not related to the formal lessons.

The continuous collaboration with teachers allowed us to take the optimized product to market in September 2010, our year of introduction. Three years later, with more than half of all Dutch primary school teachers already using our software, we launched in the United States.

We keep developing – co-creation never stops. The feedback keeps streaming and everyone within Gynzy knows that we can only get better by reaching out and collaborating with our end-users and others. This approach is much appreciated by our customers. Teachers sometimes tell us that it is the first time in their career that someone really listens to them and actually does something with their ideas. A wonderful example is a teacher who approached me at an exchange market, and said: “I am one of the founders of Gynzy!” She turned out to be one of our first users. Fantastic!”

Authors: Maarten Pieters & Stefanie Jansen, Copyright 2018

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