Co-creation: How Working With An Agency Can Transform Digital Projects

Three members of staff in front of a whiteboad in the Komodo studio sort brightly coloured post-it notes
Three members of staff in front of a whiteboad in the Komodo studio sort brightly coloured post-it notes
Three members of staff in front of a whiteboad in the Komodo studio sort brightly coloured post-it notes

From outsourcing to staff augmentation to co-creation, there are several different ways to work with an agency to develop a digital product. When considering the different agency models, you should consider how you want to work, what you hope to deliver and why you are bringing in an agency.

Working with an agency is a great way to level up your internal design and development resource, without the hassle of recruitment or training (depending on the model). You can grow your perspective, explore new concepts and increase your organisation’s toolkit with the support of a great agency.

In order to get the most out of your agency partners, take the time to understand the different models, how they differ and how to decide which approach will best suit your goals.

What are the different types of agency & augmentation models?

Currently, there are a number of different types of staff and resource augmentation models.

Retainer Model

The first, and most common, outsourcing structure is the retainer model, whereby an agency provides a consistent support service to boost an organisation’s existing internal team. This could be as broad or as specific as the business needs. For example, an organisation may require ongoing design resource that works to deliver existing frameworks.

Typically, the retainer model works to organisation targets and, therefore, the project management and goal setting are managed internally. Although a retainer could support a long-term project, this model is usually adopted by organisations that require a consistent boost to business-as-usual output.

Direct Resource Model

The direct resource model differs from a traditional retainer as it is more hands-on. A favourite of large IT suppliers, the direct resource model involves placing individuals from the supplier into the client business - sometimes having them work from the client office as part of their team.

Either on a long term retainer basis or for a single project, the agency’s team members work side-by-side with the client’s own team. Depending on the client's requirements, they could be supporting anything from development resources to project management, including overseeing sprints and development cycles.

With the direct resource model, you get to boost your team’s capabilities and output, without the costs and time associated with employment.


Outsourcing is when an agency team works in isolation on a project, separately from the organisation’s core team and, as a result, the agency is not involved in the day-to-day company activity and solely on delivering the end product.

Businesses often choose to outsource when there is a fixed deadline on a digital project for which they don’t have the time, capacity or skillset in-house.

Staff Augmentation Model

Often, you’ll see outsourcing and staff augmentation used interchangeably. However, there are a number of key differences between the two models.

With staff augmentation, the agency team is Interwoven with the client’s team - they report to the client’s manager and the client is often responsible for providing additional training. This model is typically employed when the relationship is long-term and not just for the delivery of a single, measurable project.

Co-creation Model

While we do subscribe to the mindset that staff augmentation supports businesses to deliver digital projects without the hassle of recruitment or staff development, we believe that the traditional model lacks the necessary agility, strategy or guidance that comes with co-creation.

Unlike staff augmentation, which typically kicks in when the labour is required to complete the pre-determined project, co-creation can begin at the ideas stage. Knowledge sharing and ideation is a key part of the co-creation model, as it ensures that you can tap into the full spectrum of knowledge KOMODO has gained from driving forward and delivering exceptional digital products for years.

Of all the models we’ve discussed, co-creation is by far the most involved and, therefore, our preferred way of working at KOMODO.

What is it like to co-create with KOMODO?

At KOMODO, we have a senior team of software engineers, UX designers and project managers who work alongside your organisation towards one common goal: to create an exceptional digital product and/or experience that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

We take into account your organisation’s structure, resources and goals to determine what the project process will look like, how quickly we can deliver an MVP and how every decision we make will take us closer to the final goal.

Here’s how co-creation with KOMODO works in practice:

Working with London LawTech startup StructureFlow, we built an awesome tool that helps legal professionals to display complex information in a visual and intuitive way.

This project presented a unique opportunity to pair our expertise in building tech products with the industry-leading knowledge behind StructureFlow.

This is the very essence of what makes co-creation the perfect model for these types of projects: it’s not your typical agency-client relationship. It’s the coming together of two parties who are masters of their craft, collaborating towards a common goal and, ultimately, delivering an end product that exceeds expectations.

It’s important to note that our co-creation relationships are often iterative and ongoing - they don’t end when a product is brought to market. Instead, we work with our clients to continually improve the software solutions that provide their staff and customers with the very best possible experience, elevating them above others in a competitive landscape.

Co-creation as a long-term solution

Our partnership with iamproperty is a great example of how the co-creation model can yield consistent growth on a long-term scale. For over a decade, we have worked with the iamproperty team to support rapid growth. We actively deliver against the evolving needs of an innovative disruptor within a highly competitive market.

Unlike StructureFlow, iamproperty has its own in-house development team that works on the day-to-day development and maintenance of its system. Meanwhile, KOMODO supports the delivery of additional projects that the internal team don’t have the time or resources for based on their internal roadmap.

The iamproperty team, led by CTO Ross Cooney, takes an innovative and open-minded approach to development. They don’t fear change, rather they embrace it - always looking to push their boundaries and, therefore, the capabilities of their technology and the team that uses it.

KOMODO’s co-creation model is agile but not without structure, the balance of which allows us to look beyond our current position, identify key opportunities and explore new horizons.

Got an idea? Let us know.

Discover how Komodo Digital can turn your concept into reality. Contact us today to explore the possibilities and unleash the potential of your idea.

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