Since we launched our Hong Kong and Singapore offices in October 2012,it has been a very fruitful year for us to meet different clients. The appetite for co-creation has been remarkable.
Image by Flickr user JD Hancock
When we talk about co-creation in Asia, one question inevitably comes up – “How do you recruit for ‘creative consumers’ in Asia?” To be fair, this question makes sense as there is a stereotype that Asians are less creative than their Western counterparts. Asian culture is relatively more reserved, and independent and spontaneous ideas are less valued compared to other cultures. So Asian consumers can seem less comfortable in group creative situations.
However, after running some very successful co-creation projects in China, Singapore and Indonesia, we think that this is not as difficult as it sounds. Finding the right participants is certainly not something that we need to leave to chance! It is something that we can plan for and push for. We challenge the conventional wisdom on recruiting creative consumers in a couple of ways.
First of all, we need to go beyond the narrow view of creativity. We are aware that everybody talks about recruiting ‘creative consumers’ these days, but we also observe that the focus is very much on recruiting ‘artistically creative’ people, e.g. those who work in fields like graphic design, or have hobbies such as photography or painting. These professions & interests are arguably less prevalent in Asia – but more particularly, they’re not necessarily relevant for a particular project.
Instead of classifying our consumers as either the ‘creative type’ or not, we look deeper for other qualities that can contribute to the co-creation experience as well. For instance, based on our experience, recruiting consumers with a strong sense of mindfulness, i.e. the ability to be aware of themselves and others, makes a huge difference on the group dynamics.
We also believe in tailoring our recruitment depending on the nature of the challenge. When we receive a brief from our clients, we think about which kind of person and what kind of intelligence would be required to crack the challenge. For instance, we look for:
- Visual communicators on challenges about communications, developing key visuals/mode of action or to help with packaging & logo design
- Creative problem solvers on more open challenges that require developing new-to-world, breakthrough ideas and building work-arounds to practical issues
- Conceptual thinkers or people with specific education (e.g. science, philosophy, urban planning) on challenges that are more complex and require a good sense of logic, abstract concepts and seeing things from various perspectives
- People in touch with their senses on challenges that involves new product development and product optimization (e.g. fragrances, flavours, textures)
We hope that this can spark off more ideas and thoughts on recruiting ‘creative consumers’ in Asia, and push ‘creative consumer’ recruitment in Asia further!