Community Based Innovation Essay

8872 Words Apr 27th, 2014 36 Pages
Electron Commerce Res (2006) 6: 57–73 DOI: 10.1007/s10660-006-5988-7

Community based innovation: How to integrate members of virtual communities into new product development
Johann Fuller · Michael Bartl · Holger Ernst · ¨ Hans Muhlbacher ¨

C

Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Abstract Online consumer groups represent a large pool of product know-how. Hence, they seem to be a promising source of innovation. At present, except for open source software, little is known about how to utilize this know-how for new product development. In this article we explore if and how members of virtual communities can be integrated into new product development. We explain how to identify and access online communities and how to
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F¨ ller, M. Bartl, et al. u

[33, 39, 41, 42, 52]. Such virtual interest groups are based upon shared enthusiasm for an issue or an activity. They possess and exchange knowledge concerning specific product domains and are often virtual meeting places for innovative users to discuss opportunities for new products and ideas for product improvement [33]. In “alt.coffee” for example, community members share their ideas and thoughts about how coffee machines and roasters can be improved in order to enjoy the optimal coffee pleasure. At niketalk.com, an online community for devoted basketball players, new basketball shoes are developed by users. The new designs are discussed, evaluated and improved within the community. Members of communities of consumption seem to be particularly suitable for the virtual participation in new product development because of their high product interest and knowledge as well as presence on the Net [33, 41, 53]. Analyzing four different sports communities Franke and Shah [22] showed that on average one third of the community members improve their sports equipment or even design their own products. Moreover, these members are well informed regarding the innovative activities of other community members [54]. In addition, the Internet offers new simplified modes of interaction between producers and consumers on a large scale. Multi-media richness, global accessibility and low costs of communication and

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