Future Trends 2021: Purpose & Co-creation

Be-novative Quarterly event Future Trends 2021: Purpose & Co-creation
Purpose & Co-creation projects start with Problem & Opportunity Mapping in Be-novative

What is the benefit of being purpose-driven in 2021?

The next 5-year outlook on the way we work and manage projects

Problem & Opportunity Mapping of 3 Use Cases

  • Bruno Chavez and Otto Barnert, Senior Consultants of Invitro from the field of Purpose Projects, Innovation and Sustainability
  • Saulo Pizzo, Head of Social Innovation and Community Engagement at Givaudan, leader of Givaudan Purpose Live empowering people to come up with and implement high-impact projects connected to Givaudan’s purpose.
  • Pablo Mendivelzua, Marketing Manager of Givaudan South Cone facilitator of co-creation projects with clients developing new prototypes and validating new business opportunities together.
  • Priszcilla Varnagy, CEO & Founder of Be-novative, a Design Thinking process management platform to solve the right problems together involving everyone’s diverse viewpoints
Working on a Problem & Opportunity Map to visualize the outcomes of the Be-novative webinar

How to co-create in a purpose-driven way? Lessons learned for 2021


  • MILLENIALS CONNECTION TO PURPOSE. Younger generations want to work at companies with an authentic purpose, with more than 70 percent of millennials expecting their employers to focus on societal or mission-driven problems. Research on what job Millenials are looking for found that they’re looking for a purpose that enables them to unfold their skills. If they don't find an opportunity to involve themselves — they are going to lose interest.
  • EVOLVED INTERNAL COMMUNICATION. The first step is communicating the organization’s purpose so that more people will be able to relate to it and bring it further. Use all communicational channels including the intranet, all-hands meetings, and chat channels to tell the why and the origin story. Besides, you need to know that the strongest form of communication is word-of-mouth. Instead of an ad or a beautiful picture, employees telling about their experiences being involved in purposeful projects travels way beyond any other message you can plan for.
  • DIGITALISATION. The pandemia and lockdown opened new doors through technology: online solutions and platforms to unite everyone to cross-pollinate ideas and create synergies from all countries. Many times, besides Be-novative, a browser and high-speed internet connection will be enough to start uniting people within your company.
  • LEADERSHIP. In a crisis, the spotlight turns on the management who get an opportunity to make sense of what happened. This shapes a brand’s reputation for the future depending on how ethical and meaningful it reacts to the changing environment.


  • 1–2 MONTHS OF PLANNING. You need to plan, but not over-plan these types of projects prior to starting. Usually being flexible and self-organizing is an important element we suggest leaving room for.
  • WEEKLY ACTIVITIES INSTEAD OF 1-DAY. Through digital platforms, like Be-novative, you can keep up the energy from collecting insights and ideation to evaluating, synthesizing new concepts, prototyping, and validation. It is better to let participants evolve week by week than to shrink it into a single day in front of the screen and sticky notes.
  • REGULAR, 15–60 MIN ACTIVITIES. If you involve clients in a co-creation process, allocating 7 hours over 10–12 weeks works well usually as a rule of thumb, more time might be too much to ask for. Be mindful of people doing these activities on top of other business-as-usual projects.
  • 4–16 WEEKS GENERATE MORE TRUST IN THE OUTCOMES. A Design Sprint is a great quick version of doing all steps of understanding, ideation, prototyping, testing, implementing — but in most projects in 2020 and 2021 that resulted in implementation, the process was slightly longer. This allowed team formation based on the similarity of shared ideas, which resulted in more visual and tangible prototypes that were shipped to clients (homes) for validation and deeper analysis of results. What it brought for organizations is more trust in the outcomes, and confidence that the validated prototypes are well-thought-out, and the feedback from customers was found to be more relevant as it left enough room for iteration rounds.

Audience — with whom to co-create?

  • C-LEVEL EXECUTIVES & EXPERTS INVOLVED. It is important to involve people from all levels of the company. It is only C-Level executives who can highlight the long-term strategy and make resources available, but it is the mid-level managers who can drive such purpose-driven co-creation projects forward as project owners, consulting experts e.g. as mentors.
  • FACILITATORS. may come bottom-up as volunteers, and this is a good sign they are driven and will have the energy from ideation to validation owning the entire journey.
  • DEMOGRAPHICS OF PARTICIPANTS. Non-profits can involve a larger community base for a good cause — at EIT Raw Materials, OECD or UN Youth forum we have experience of engaging tens of thousands of people on solving important challenges involving their large community. In for-profit projects, the number of participants in a challenge can be hundreds of people. E.g. in Givaudan’s Purpose Live project 156 participants from 46 countries connected from all age groups and gender. We have typically seen in similar purpose projects that the age group of 29–39 was most typical and women took part on a large scale as volunteers both as project owners and team members.
  • MOTIVATION AND REWARD. Participants are merely motivated by the impact they can create once their ideas get manifested in better products and services. Although recognition and reward sound like an important topic, surprisingly in co-creation projects it is usually not part of the process. When the right people are invited they are motivated to bring their best self. (But if we think about: do we get an extra reward or special motivation for working on a business-as-usual-project?)

Resources — what to rely on?

  • MENTOR ROLES TO SUPPORT THE PROJECTS. Enablers, Navigators, Mentors are usually coming in to support project teams in their journey. They are usually volunteers coming from an expert group that oversees strategy and implementation.
  • INSPIRATIONAL WORKSHOPS. Meditation, breathing, improv theatre, and invited guest speakers can set the tone for a creative atmosphere and a safe space where every participant is equal and can glimpse into what is possible — and nothing is totally impossible.
  • CREATE SYNERGIES OF IDEAS THROUGH DIGITAL PLATFORMS. In most co-creation processes the goal is not to find a single winning idea but to surface the best outcome that contains everyone’s diverse viewpoints. This involves building on top of each others’ ideas and encouraging teams to find synergies rather than competing and restricting their thinking. Design Thinking methods and AI can help them find the right connections.
  • PHYSICAL PROTOTYPES SHIPPED/RELEASED. Talking about co-creating new products that clients can try is more powerful than 1000 pictures. In the first place, Givaudan shipped new prototypes of food and beverages in the co-creation process to their key large enterprise customer partners’ homes so that they can taste them and rank them on multiple criteria they can give feedback on online, which helps Givaudan rank these prototypes and create an innovation roadmap. If we do only a low-fidelity prototype it also helps to have a discovery interview based on them, but ideally, we should also be prepared for building and releasing or sending by post a product the customer can interact with and then give feedback on multiple criteria — which makes our decisions grounded.

Strategy — What will change in the way we work?

  • COMMUNICATIONAL STRATEGY. In order to be more empowering, companies will need to change and adapt their communicational strategy both internally and externally. It will become more important. to talk about more open questions and opportunities than only about past events and past stories. We need to be more open to involving more people in new stories on what is possible, challenges where we want to create impact, and invite people to contribute to solving those while learning from each other. This will also mean that the purpose and corporate strategy may evolve and adapt over time, thus we need to be prepared to nurture collective intelligence and collective creativity.
  • EMPATHY & UNDERSTANDING. Start the process with empathy. This is trivial in Design Thinking processes but not in general project management. As more and more transformational and co-creation projects will start to emerge, we need to prepare more employees and project managers to start with an understanding phase. Get to know more about the target user or client perspective. Listen to the external community as well as listen to employees and create a safe space for them to open up and feel understood. This is key for any innovation or co-creation process in order to drive results.
  • CLIENT ENGAGEMENT DRIVES THE INNOVATION ROADMAP. Key clients are engaged more if they can influence the directions of product development: winning even more deals, improving retention.
  • IMPLEMENTATION GOAL. Even though till 2020 innovation projects were valid as idea competitions, they will fade out as a practice if the expectation and support from the beginning won’t reach as far as implementation. There is only time for the must-have goals and promises in transformative times like the post-pandemic period. Collecting ideas, however, remains nice to have unless we use these ideas for advancing processes, products, or services for doing good and generating better results. It is not so trivial, though. We need to be prepared to support people with project managers who are skilled in agile and Design Thinking processes to act on these ideas.
  • ACCELERATORS. Within the company, creating a favorable environment for co-created projects may require more support and time than other types of business-as-usual projects. More and more companies are choosing the trend of establishing an accelerator that can support these projects and owners with more tools, methods, and skills than what they would get in their regular work environment.

Impact — Positive benefits beyond the project life-time

  • ENGAGEMENT & LEARNING. Companies are creating a safe space through technology - facilitating inspired new connections between people beyond geographical distances, age, gender, and level inside or outside a company no matter if they are introverts or extroverts. These types of projects will become more and more frequent in all types of organizations and available for hundreds or even millions of people at the same time. It increases the sense of belonging for each participant who took part. In the past, co-creation was restricted just for marketing or R&D, but in the future, these opportunities will be open for everyone — to employees, and eventually to consumers or a large community united by the same causes to bring their ideas to life obtaining better and faster solutions. Participants said: “I was able to make mistakes and experiment like we never could before”. This results in more employee and customer engagement which creates a snowball effect as the enthusiasm is catchy to start similar projects.
  • VALIDATED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE. Co-creation projects helped Givaudan create a validated innovation roadmap.
  • SPEED UP MEANINGFUL GROWTH. One prototype worth more than 1000 images and co-creating with our clients the way the product should look, smell, taste including the entire actual formula, ideating and validating all of these aspects speeds up the production capabilities and the time from idea to market launch.
  • SUSTAINABILITY AS A SERVICE. We’ve all been tracking the evolution of the circular economy forever. But now, with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) it is closer than ever to employees and customers. Expect a new generation of solutions that combine business values and values for the environment and society. Yes, that means we are closer than ever to circular economy solutions driven by businesses that deliver.

If you only do 5 things:

  • REFLECT ON & COMMUNICATE YOUR PURPOSE. Invite leadership to refine and reflect on your company purpose. By sharing your ‘why’ to employees and customers you create new opportunities needed in a transformative post-pandemic world
  • LISTEN & EMPATHIZE. Start the process with empathy. This is trivial in Design Thinking processes but not in general project management. Identify channels through which you can get to know more about the client perspective or your employees’ feedback working in the frontline.
  • SYNTHESIZE IDEAS TO CREATE A PIPELINE. Instead of looking for a winning idea, think of how you could involve people from both inside your company and from key clients in virtually coming up with solutions that contain and reflect on everyone’s diverse viewpoints.
  • FACILITATE THE PROCESS WITH MENTORS & EXPERTS. Coming from inside or outside the company, facilitators and mentors have a unique and unprecedented role in driving community engagement, creating a flexible process, and adapt it to the circumstances connecting what is possible with what may be implementing high impact new solutions, fortifying strengthen and risks helping teams to iterate.
  • SEND PROTOTYPES TO CUSTOMERS FOR FEEDBACK — Don’t just stop at a concept or plan level. Build the solutions and gain relevant feedback for how to realize the impact and create the desired value for your target clients.




Be-novative is a Design Thinking and Innovation platform that helps organizations build breakthroughs collaboratively. http://be-novative.com @benovative

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Be-novative is a Design Thinking and Innovation platform that helps organizations build breakthroughs collaboratively. http://be-novative.com @benovative

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