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Sourcing Innovation from You Customer: How Multinational Enterprises Use Web Platforms for Virtual Customer Integration

Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 117–131, 2010

17 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2010 Last revised: 9 Jun 2014

René Rohrbeck

Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University

Fee Steinhoff

Deutsche Telekom Laboratories

Felix Perder

TU Berlin

Date Written: January 8, 2010

Abstract

Integrating the customer in the innovation process is believed to be a powerful means to reduce failure rates and to increase the revenue from new products. Although many companies have launched programs to enable such integration, the understanding of the mechanisms behind successful programs remains limited. Furthermore, the benefit of integrating customers in the innovation process has to be weighed against the costs. Virtual customer integration has been discussed as a way to limit these costs and bring the benefits of potentially unlimited scalability. Using a sample of the Euro Stoxx 50 companies, we shed light on the various types of virtual customer integration platforms, their limitations, their benefits and the mechanisms that have to be put in place to make them succeed. Results indicate that only a limited number of platforms go beyond the sourcing of ideas. Especially the integration of the customer in the execution phase of the innovation process remains largely limited to digital goods.

Keywords: Virtual-customer integration, customer-active paradigm, innovation management, lead user, developer platforms

JEL Classification: E17, M1, M19

Suggested Citation

Rohrbeck, René and Steinhoff, Fee and Perder, Felix, Sourcing Innovation from You Customer: How Multinational Enterprises Use Web Platforms for Virtual Customer Integration (January 8, 2010). Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 117–131, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1533575

René Rohrbeck (Contact Author)

Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, 8210
Denmark
+45-871 64929 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rene-rohrbeck.de

Fee Steinhoff

Deutsche Telekom Laboratories ( email )

Berlin
Germany

Felix Perder

TU Berlin ( email )

Straße des 17
Berlin, 10623
Germany

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