Agile Co-Creation: Changing the Mindset from Outsourcing to Winning Partnerships

I’ve led many successful application development, cloud migration, and data/analytics programs over the years, and I staffed most of them with a mix of employees, freelancers, and service providers. Thanks to friends working at Cognizant, DataMatics, Mobius, Synechron, TCS, Wipro, and others through my years of leading organizations as a CTO, CIO, and now leading my company, StarCIO.

Agile Co-Creation with Partners

The secret of my success has been a co-creation model, part of which I first wrote about in Chapter 2, Agile Transformational Practices, of my first book, Driving Digital. “I recommend that either the business analyst or the tech lead come from your service provider, while the other ideally should be an employee,” is one of the recommendations I shared on assigning responsibilities on agile teams.

In that book, I called them “hybrid teams,” but later on, I borrowed language from one of StarCIO’s clients and started calling it a co-creation model.

And in Digital Trailblazer, I share, “Several years later, when I become a CIO, my teams and I pioneer ways to positively partner with our Indian‐based teams. We are no longer client versus vendor. We are one team, with one mission, sharing identical KPIs.”

Co-creation requires a shift in mindset, contracting, and operating model. The transformation is essential for organizations that seek to deliver ongoing innovations and recognize that it often requires partnering with freelancers, small contracting firms, and service providers. Sometimes you require scale, other times expertise, and often need ways to enable supporting services.

I’ll announce white papers and tools around StarCIO’s co-creation model through our Driving Digital Newsletter. Until then, you can learn more about these models through two recent Driving Digital Standup videos I recorded around Chapters 6 and 7 of Digital Trailblazer.

Buried in Bad Data

In this chapter, I tell the stories of partnerships that yielded customer-facing analytics products and re-engineering many data integration pipelines.

Transforming Experiences with a Global Perspective

In Chapter 6, I share my partnership stories: With marketing leaders, service providers, and co-creation teams in the US and India. 

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.