Title: Next practice, not best practice: using virtual worlds in new product development in the automotive industry

Authors: Julia Daecke; Dodo Zu Knyphausen-Aufseß; Lars Schweizer

Addresses: Telekom Deutschland GmbH, Landgrabenweg 151, D-53227 Bonn, Germany ' Technische Universität Berlin, Straße des 17, Juni 135, D-10623 Berlin, Germany ' Goethe University Frankfurt, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 4, D-60629 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Abstract: Involving customers in the development of new products development is crucial to market success. However, many companies, especially within the technology-oriented automotive industry, fail to do so. In this paper, we examine how web-based virtual worlds offer fresh perspectives for integrating customers into product development. We argue that companies must look to 'next practice, not best practice' if they hope to outperform the market. We also investigate the steps involved in such projects, and the factors that make them possible. We conducted interviews with managers from three leading car manufacturers - Audi AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG - and experts from industry-related research institutes and service companies. Our findings demonstrate that virtual worlds support more efficient and effective new product development projects, especially in their early and late phases.

Keywords: new product development; NPD; automobile industry; virtual worlds; innovation; customer integration; internet; automotive development projects; Audi AG; BMW Group; Daimler AG.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2015.073095

International Journal of Product Development, 2015 Vol.20 No.5, pp.401 - 433

Accepted: 08 Aug 2015
Published online: 16 Nov 2015 *

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