Designing and Staging High-Quality Park and Recreation Experiences Using Co-Creation
Keywords:Co-creation, structured experience, design, engagement, experience quality
AbstractWhile the field of park and recreation has long been focused on designing and delivering quality leisure experiences, the concept of experiences has become increasingly salient across almost all industries over the last two decades. From the time that Pine and Gilmore initially proposed the concept of the experience economy in a 1998 Harvard Business Review article, experiences have become a primary driver of the economy (Pine & Gilmore, 1999; 2011). If an organization is not providing experiences perceived by consumers as high quality and desirable, the organization most likely will not survive.A core concept associated with the design of experiences is co-creation—a collaborative process of value creation between participants and providers (Payne, Storbacka, & Frow 2008; Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004a). This paper examines the concept of co-creation and its relevance for the field of park and recreation administration. This is accomplished by introducing a three-phased model of co-creation that spans over the three phases of leisure (i.e., anticipation, participation, and reflection) and discussing co-creation’s applicability to park and recreation settings through a descriptive case study.We define co-creation as active participation, dialogue, and collaboration between participants, producers, and a variety of other stakeholders throughout the process of designing, participating in, and reflecting on an experience (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004b; Rossman & Schlatter, 2015). Based on the work of Duerden, Ward, and Freeman (2015), we propose a three-phased model of co-creation, which includes co-design during the anticipation phase of an experience, co-actualization during the participation phase of the experience, and co-curation during the reflection phase of the experience. This paper provides specific examples of the different forms of co-creation during each experience phase. This paper also introduces the DART (dialogue, access, risk assessment, and transparency) model of co-creation (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2002; 2004a; 2004c) and provides examples of its applicability for park and recreation professionals. This paper concludes with a case study exemplifying how co-creation and its associated concepts can be used to design a swim program experience. Although park and recreation professionals have a long history of designing and delivering experiences, they risk seeing their offerings become obsolete if they do not find ways to stay on the forefront of the experience economy. As more organizations come to view themselves as experience providers, the competition for people’s time and resources will increase. We hope the insights in this paper will help park and recreation professionals embrace and apply the concept of co-creation in their experience offerings. Subscribe to JPRA
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