The first question I get when I start to talk about the Co-Creation Lab is: what is it, what do you do there, how is that different from what Rhapsody Integration Engine already does? The first question is really a series of questions.
I generally start with our credo: “The Co-Creation Lab is a strategic initiative to create sustained value by designing, prototyping and operationalizing innovative solutions and products through customer focused collaboration.”
That is a mouthful and doesn’t always satisfy the inquirer, but it does start the conversation with all our cards on the table. In poker parlance it is the flop, the turn, and the river. Now it’s time to talk.
The first point I want to convey is that the Lab is strategic. It matters to us. It has the support of our executive leadership. It’s not a pet project, it is part of Rhapsody’s identity, how we see ourselves, and how we would like the market to see us as well.
“Creating sustained value” is an expression about the kinds of projects we want to engage in. We are not focused on narrow, bespoke problems, but more so on those that are likely to affect many of our customers.
A key distinction to be made in how a Lab project is different from a more typical professional services, work-for-hire style of engagement is that we are following the design thinking methodology: design, prototype, and operationalize.
The key to understanding that methodology is that we are not starting from the solution and then stamping out a spec for the resources to create a statement of work. We are going to begin our discovery further back and spend some time there to define the problem and understand the experience of the those who are affected.
Only then can we begin the design process. We do this in steps and the design involves ideation from our partner and from us. Prototyping, evaluation and refinement are critical to ending up with a successful implementation. This is not typical of how things have worked in our industry and requires that our partners understand that distinction.
That is best characterized as collaboration and innovation.
Our customers often have highly skilled technical resources. They can solve many of the challenges that come their way. We want the lab to be the place they come to when they need to extend beyond what they are able to do alone.
We want to become a leader in solving interoperability problems, and to do that we will need partners with an equal stake in overcoming those challenges, who share a vision of creating long lasting and high value solutions.