Innovation without Co-creation Just Doesn’t Fly

Why the Starbucks “15th Ave” Store Is Doomed to Fail

In the last week there has been a minor buzz in the media about Starbucks attempt at unbranding as a means for innovation.  On the surface, there may be some positive aspects to this tactic. My take is that without the input of their community stakeholders, this lacks the power of co-creation. It’s not likely to succeed.

I am fortunate to have a birds-eye view of the venture. My daughter lives a few blocks from this morphed location. I know the spot since I frequently walk or drive by when I am in Seattle. Within 1/4 mile there are a dozen other local coffee houses that are unique icons in the neighborhood.  They grew up from the imagination of their owners and the style and influence of their customers.  No “out of the box” and into the storefront operations, they are all a work in progress.

Folks vote with their purchases and and their feet when it comes to coffee. As someone who has consulted to change and innovation projects in business, I see employees and customers making similar choices. In every organization there are opportunities for making change with and without the constituents. The former may make a big show and start off with a bang. The latter is more likely to go from hum to song to chorus and end with a crescendo. Much more satisfying for everyone.


4 Responses to Innovation without Co-creation Just Doesn’t Fly

  1. bukik says:

    I’a agree with you
    in the world is flat, co-creation is important things

  2. Joun Robert says:

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    Joun Robert

  3. Very good exposure. What he says here is very interesting and all users should read and follow the recommendations.
    Thanks for the input.

  4. Kelly says:


    I like what you said about folks voting with their “feet” on change initiatives, as well as the co-creating piece as a key success factor.

    I see the “feet” theme lots in corporate change initiatives, as I’m sure all change management practitioners do. I have this picture of people either “in” the room, or “walking away” from the room.

    The people who are “in” room are highly engaged, and actively involved in the co-creation of a new future. They believe something valuable and concrete will come out of that engagement, and that it’s worth their time. In addition to creating a vision, they are involved in ways to actualize that vision. And it seems like the most effective cases of this are situations where the reality – whether it’s a merger, acquisition, a new program, etc. – organically unfolds and happens in the process of a group co-creating it.

    Appreciative Inquiry offers such powerful tools for this because of the continuity it offers. What I mean is that it offers the breadth as well as the depth to create that new reality and to sustain it over time, because of the high levels of engagement and co-creation it entails.

    Thanks again for your post!

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