I have recently been involved in the preparation of project applications as a grant writer. Based on my experience as a service provider, below are my key points for fine-tuning this offering.
In my view, grant writing as any other service, is an interactive value formation process that can at times be challenging as well as a fruitful collaborative experience in any organisational setting, resulting in both positive (co-creation) and negative value outcomes (co-destruction).
On one hand, it can be challenging when the responsibilities of the project manager as the customer and the grant writer as the service provider are not clearly defined. If a balanced work division is not crystallised at an early stage, the responsibility of co-ordinating the entire project preparation might fall upon the latter. Consequently, the service provider is worse-off from the experience, resulting in value co-destruction. The collaborative engagement for enacting a successful project application involving mainly the two actors, ultimately fails to create and extract value during the process, that is value-in-use. On the other hand, when the same value dimension (who is doing what and when) is well defined, the experience is increased well-being (value co-creation) rather than immense work overload. Thus, when a service provider is provided with clear tasks/responsibilities and work division, the customer can be served efficiently, and this reflects service presence.
To foster value co-creation and to avoid value co-destruction, I would suggest the following points for consideration in the implementation of this service.
- Value is co-created through communication and inherent in the interaction.
The functional aspect of the service offering (how and what is involved) must be communicated and agreed upon. In the long term, this may offer a means for establishing a strong rapport. However, the customer should be aware of his or her needs and articulate them to the provider.
- Proper division of work based on knowledge and skills is necessary for a smooth process.
This offers a bundle of benefits from saving time, increasing productivity in day-to-day work to reducing exhaustion, further resulting in improved well-being and job satisfaction. This is why; dissecting the service into a number of tasks that make up the whole and allotting it among the actors is a guiding principle.
- Working hours allocated for the process needs execution with candour.
Thus, the customer’s active engagement in the process is crucial and engenders value co-creation for not only the customer but also the service provider.
- It is important to execute post-interaction activities.
Both actors should offer feedback directly to one another following the completion of the service delivery, which allows for improvements in the existing service quality and in pinpointing best practices.
To make a value proposition hold true, I believe that it takes two to tango. Both the customer and the service provider need actively to engage in the process by integrating their individual resources (value co-creation). One cannot do without the other. Imagine the potential when a service provider co-creates with a motivated customer willing to flex his or her creative muscles. That is a start of an awesome team and a partnership of “us” that makes both feel equally part of the process and co-address the challenge-at-hand.
So, are you, both service provider and customer, ready to unleash the benefits of co-creation in your work? Let’s tango!