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Co-production of Physical Products and Value Co-creation - Scalability in the Wild

About the Project

The project focuses on chocolate gift products to design, implement and evaluate a web-service system that will allow consumers to design their chocolate gifts online by using an embedded 3D design tool (ChocoALM). The web-service system and the ChocoALM tool are co-produced between consumers and the producer, with the aim of enhancing consumers’ personalised experiences and achieving value co-creation through interactions between the producer and a mass market of consumers.

The project aims to deliver the following objectives:

  1. To study the users’ experiences and behaviours and understand the producers’ capability to co-produce and co-create value for physical products;

  2. To implement and evaluate user-based design for the ChocALM co-production tool and for the mass production of personalised and popular products;

  3. To implement and evaluate an intelligent web service system to engage the user community in co-building a design library and offering societal level service capability;

  4. To identify e-enterprise strategies that can help formulate a value-centric business model and an e-manufacturing support system of the business proposition.

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Today's organisations can be seen as moving away from ‘selling of offerings’, towards being an organiser of value creation. Consumers therefore, may not just be the receiver of offerings, but are co-creators of value both to the firm and to themselves, and are increasingly co-producers and co-designers of offerings.

By applying the Service-Dominant Logic approach and Normann’s dematerialisation concept, the research team has successfully developed a methodology which enables the transformation from physical to virtual consumption experiences and thus achieve value capture, co-production of value propositions and value co-creation. By employing this methodology, the key facets of ‘lived’ physical chocolate practices and activities have been transferred into virtual practices.

The team has also designed a virtual space for virtual chocolate experiences and new value creation opportunities. This innovative online chocolate value co-creating platform known as CocoWorks offers online chocolate gift design services (using Google Sketchup) and the printing of the designed chocolate using 3-D additive layer manufacturing technology (3-D chocolate printer). This chocolate value co-creating system enables fans of chocolate to engage in the co-creation of online hedonistic chocolate experiences as well as physical chocolate consumption experiences.

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Research Team

Liang Hao, Exeter University (Principal Investigator)
Irene Ng, WMG, Warwick University
Richard Everson, Exeter University
David Zhang, Exeter University
Eminegul Karababa, University of South Denmark
Hua Dong, Brunel University
Sarah Silve, Brunel University
Busayawan Lam, Brunel University
Anthony Anosike, Exeter University
Susan Wakenshaw, Warwick University


Publications/Research Outputs

Susan Wakenshaw (2011) Context, contextual variety, contextual invariance & value co-creation in PSS design for non-durable consumer products, presentation in Understanding Complex Service Systems Through Different Lenses, Academic Conference, 22 – 23, September, Moller Centre, Cambridge, UK

Wakenshaw, S, Ng ICL, Hao L, Karababa E, Amey J, (2012). Dematerialization, Density and a New Business Model for Co-creation – The Case of Chocolate. Abstract for 21st Annual Frontiers in Service Conference, Washington DC, June  

Ng, I & Wakenshaw S (2012) Representing the Customer: the role of marketing in design, technology and manufacturing/engineering. AMA SERVSIG, International Service Research Conference, Helsinki, Finland, June 7-9

Wakenshaw S, Karababa E & Dong H (2013) Technology, ‘Engaging’ Web-Service and Transcendent Consumer Experiences: the Case of Chocolate. The 13th International Research Symposium on Service Excellence in Management (QUIS 13), Karlstad, Sweden, June 10-13


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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Project timeframe

March 2011 – August 2012

Project Partners

University of Exeter
University of Warwick
Brunel University



Chocolate Hearts

CocoWorks is an innovative online community for chocolate co-creation where chocolate and 3D design enthusiasts come together to design, share and socialise around chocolates.