A customer who simultaneously ‘consumes’ and co-produces the product or service

We never liked the word consumer as it implies that we ‘homo economici’ use up (the value of) a product or service. Taking note of these connotations, the marketing world of the 90s coined the term prosumer, formed from ‘producer’ and ‘consumer’. It emerged because in reality users enhance or even become part of the value creation – and thus the value proposition – of firms. This co-creation happens not only in dedicated workshops with producers and users, such as hackathons, and ideation or co-creation sessions. It also and most commonly happens when users are on their own and enhance offerings by combining them with other offerings from their product-service ecosystem, or when they hack the functionality of products and services. Just think about IKEA self-assembly and hacking, informal and official LEGO communities, two-sided markets like Etsy or Threadless, open-source communities, and so on.

We call them ‘riders’, because we are them, and they are us!

Harley Davidson philosophy

As in our view, users cannot not co-create and ‘prosume’, we therefore avoid using this word altogether. We just refer to users, people, or humans. We included the term in this glossary because it’s making a comeback in the industry and we want to take a stand here.