Title: IT-enabled product innovation: customer motivation for participating in virtual idea communities

Authors: Ulrich Bretschneider; Jan Marco Leimeister; Lars Mathiassen

Addresses: Information Systems, University of Kassel, 34121 Kassel, Germany ' Information Systems, University of Kassel, 34121 Kassel, Germany; Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland ' Computer Information Systems, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

Abstract: Virtual idea communities (VICs) such as Dell's 'Ideastorm' are very popular in practice. In VICs, customers of firms can submit ideas to support product innovation. This customer-based ideation is not new. Customers have been brought together in lead-user-workshops or focus-groups since the 1980s to support product innovation. However, VICs represents a new form of IT-mediated ideation with customers. While extant research has provided insights into customers' motives for participating in traditional ideation, we know little about the motivations that drive customer participation in this new form of IT-enabled ideation. Based on a survey of customer motivations for participation, we found evidence for motives that arise directly due to the VIC's IT-ability to support visualisation of customer ideas, to give feedback on ideas, and to support customers' social interactions. As a result, VICs are perceived as a way to demonstrate personal capabilities, for getting recognition, and for facilitating social interaction.

Keywords: virtual idea communities; open innovation; crowdsourcing; product innovation; customer motivation; IT-enabled ideation; new product development; NPD; customer involvement; idea management systems; virtual communities; online communities; web based communities; customer participation; visualisation; social interaction; personal capabilities; recognition.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2015.068966

International Journal of Product Development, 2015 Vol.20 No.2, pp.126 - 141

Accepted: 19 Jul 2014
Published online: 22 Apr 2015 *

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