The first paradigm shift is from passive to active. Analyze the role of the user in your business model between active and passive roles. The term passive can apply to everything from physical behavior – such as watching television or listening to a lecture – to the degree of involvement, whether as patient, reader or citizen. If you discover a passive role, ask yourself what it would take to shift this to an active role – such as working, physical exercise, speaking up, learning, or taking care of things or others.
The second shift is from a one-way to a reciprocal relationship. One-way communication from producer to consumer is shifting to true interaction. Most companies are not ready for this. They see their customer service operations as a cost center that handles complaints. They fear the cost of complexity of dealing with customers one at a time, all with their own wishes, ideas, and complaints. Note that this does not have to be full reciprocity. The author that inspired a fan-fiction book will retain a special position, as will the head designer or architect.
This reciprocity is important: we are no longer just users of the software, but its co-authors. The sense of reciprocity lies in this quality of co-authoring, co-designing, co-creating and co-producing. When you look at your organization or your business model, how much reciprocity is involved? How much are you doing together with your customer? How involved are they emotionally? Is your customer an active creative partner? How do you deal with the consumer who has now become a co-author, and as a result have new expectations regarding shared intellectual property, influence rights, and awards?
The third shift is from authoritative to empowering. The consumer has been silent, hidden or irrelevant while the creator, by contrast, has had a say, and been clearly visible and involved. The modern prosumer does not just provide feedback or suggest changes, but feels empowered to act as a co-designer and co-creator. When you look at the way your organization or business treats its clients or customer, is this a disempowering relationship characterized by acceptance and silence, or do you encourage speaking up and getting involved?