"It costs too much to stay the same, creativity can make a difference." - Cathy Huang, CEO, CBi China Bridge"
Innovation is fundamental to making change, it requires a purpose, creativity and design amongst many other factors – but most importantly it requires people's contributions.
WECO is a crowed-creation ecosystem. It combines online and offline co-creation events aimed at facing social and business challenges. The meaning behind WECO is "we co-create," by bringing together different kinds of people with various mindsets, backgrounds and skills, to turn ideas into reality.
The objective of WECO is to leverage the power that tribes, groups and advocates have when trying to tackle today's social and commercial challenges. By providing online-to-offline (O2O) processes, methods, tools and focus, we are essentially supercharging these tribes and problem solvers to "crowd-create."
As a Innovation firm, we have witnessed first hand that Chinese do not necessarily lack creativity, but their creativity just needs to be nurtured out collectively. After all, innovation is not about simply thinking harder, it also requires collaboration, creativity and design in a open environment. A type of environment not very common or available in China.
Part ecosystem, co-creation space and idea incubator, WECO was born as we designed our new office in China and dreamed about a space that could engage communities, clients and everyday people in the creation process. That is why in a constantly evolving centre like Shanghai, we took the chance to create a co-creation space and see what would happen.
WECO Key ActorsPeople play a key role in WECO experience, with collaboration bringing ideas to life
ActivitiesWECO has hosted different interactive activities such as workshop, training, Jams, creative camps and brainstorming sessions.
Support the "future"We believe kids will be the entrepreneurs of the future, so we won't miss the chance to hold workshops with them
Team Building & Innovative Training This creative space lends itself to a collaborative, cooperative mindset
Joyful Lifestyle Party WECO has an open space, a multi-functional kitchen with both Western and Chinese cooking equipment to meet people's specific needs
ToolboxThis box it the first step for making a workshop. It contains a set of tools and a toolkit to support group of six people.
WECO in HangzhouThe first branch, a co-creation space created in Hangzhou
For more than 13 years, as a Chinese innovation strategy firm, we have been leveraging advanced design methods and creativity mostly for commercial benefits and some social impact. However, during this journey we experienced first-hand how participating in co-creation transforms the lives and mindsets of those people who are engaged.
There are an impressive number of inspiring places around the world, including many design agency and creative spaces in the USA and Europe. During the past four years, we were inspired and motivated to explore ways to combine Western-developed methods of co-creation with a more localised Chinese approach, something that was more appropriate for our cultural, societal and educational realities.
The goal was to design a place that would spark creativity and inspiration, where we could introduce and implement the tools and methodologies of innovation, creativity and co-creation that we have been using for years. CBi China Bridge has been using co-creation as a means of collaborating with clients for years, and our experience made us realise that our goal is not to build simply a physical space, but an innovation ecosystem without boundaries.
Both inside and outside of China, many believe that creativity is suppressed by our educational system and that change is nearly impossible. We don't agree. We have experienced the reality that creativity is deeply imbedded in people from all cultures. It is, in many ways, the very essence of what makes us human.
The process for developing WECO is both collaborative and timely. It involves aspects of service design, whereby we're always looking at lean methodologies and at the business model canvas. These tools help us to capture the values we want to create, while also identifying the types of partners with whom we need to engage, and the services we plan to provide.
The key consideration of designing a WECO space has always focused on openness, and on stimulating engagement and involvement. We do this by providing a space that can be flexible and can be utilised by different people to engage their target customers and their partners in the co-creation process. Within the first few months we have held co-creation workshops, sharing sessions, innovation training for CEOs, and a series of other innovation activities. Our clients are very satisfied with WECO.
WECO is not another incubator – it is a system, a method that can be applied to existing incubators to allow start-ups, corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social enterprises to adopt a design-driven approach based on co-creation and customer-centric perspectives of their business. We don't consider existing incubators or accelerators to be competitors; they are all potential partners.WECO is an ecosystem based on the principle of co-creation. Our intention is to create an environment that helps to introduce the culture, concept, tools and methodology of co-creation to China.Innovation culture needs to be cultivated in a proper environment, and we intend to make WECO a role model of the innovation environment as a community, and a gathering place for future innovation leaders.
•A SPACE TOOLKIT: This is a set of tools that helps co-creation take place everywhere.
•PEOPLE TOOLBOX: This is a set of tools that help people to think in different ways through methods, tools and activities.
•For start-up companies – WECO shares the risk of the innovation as we broaden their networks and help them to test and execute iterations of their products and services.
•Companies and corporations – WECO charges for the facilitation of idea refinement, concept auditing and co-creation for innovation, engaging and involving users, staff and partners in the co-creation process.
•NGOs & social enterprises – WECO doesn't charge such groups for innovation. We help them to use co-design to better face important social issues and challenges.
After six months, WECO has already achieved impressive results impacting both the private and the public sector:
* It has empowered Nonprofit Governmental Organisations and public sector groups by facilitating innovation workshops for social enterprises such as the Ali Foundation. It also has supported WWF Sun Village Zhang Jiang Group to ideate a sustainable Earth Hour, supporting the project from the ideation phase through to the creation of the real-life prototype of "Power Park," helping the group to receive massive media coverage and successfully attract general public attention.
* WECO supports business innovation and design projects serving different brands such as Medtronic, MEIGUILI and Coca-Cola, on different design phases such as research, co-creation, iterative testing and design. It also has assisted other brands such as Donglin, Lenovo, Le Cake, etc., with specific needs like brand, product and packaging design.
* WECO has attracted more than 5,000 people to participate in its events and seminars. The space has hosted 30 co-creation session, and 100 start-ups have already pitched to investors, with three of them already receiving a second round of investment.
* In collaboration with Hunta Design (an award-winning design consulting agency), we already have cofounded and opened a new WECO locations in Hangzhou. Going forward, WECO's model might also be applied to open new branches with other partners additional cities including Dalian and Wuhan in the near future.
* Our aim is to set place WECO in more traditional co-working spaces and incubators across China.
* Create a new kinds of co-creation event and tools to involve larger groups of people at the same time in the co-creation process.
* Inspire more people - we believe we can easily reach 1 million people in the next three years and let them become ambassadors of change, a tribe of innovators.
We know that design and creativity can amplify innovation, while also giving people a deeper sense of purpose.
WECO For Communities,For Brands, For Government, For Education, For a Better Future
Great achievement in a culture and place where this type of design thinking and collaborative working process is not readily used.
The building of the space and the methodology is no small feat and seems to be working beautifully for the teams that have been involved.