Think 'with'

Charlie Leadbeater

The successful business models of the future will embrace the With and By culture of consumer collaboration, not the traditional To and For approach to the creation of products and services

Just as we thought we knew what organisations were for, we thought we knew what consumers were for. They were the consummation of the production process, the final link in the value chain. But these orderly value chains are now being scrambled up and, as a result, some consumers, in some areas of the economy, are playing very different roles.

They are no longer passive recipients of goods delivered to them; they want to be participants in creating services they want.

Instead of having products delivered and marketed to them, they want services that work with them and allow them to do things by themselves. A prime example of this participative consumer culture is World of Warcraft, which has become, since its launch in 2004, one of the most successful computer games ever, with more than eight million subscribers. The average player spends more than 21 hours a week playing.