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Virtual lead user communities: Drivers of knowledge creation for innovation

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  • Mahr, Dominik
  • Lievens, Annouk
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    Abstract

    This study examines the creation of innovation-related knowledge in virtual communities visited mainly by lead users. Such communities enable firms to access a large number of lead users in a cost-efficient way. A propositional framework relates lead users’ characteristics to unique virtual community features to examine their potential impact on the development of valuable innovation knowledge. The authors empirically validate this framework by analyzing online contributions of lead users for mobile service innovation projects. The findings indicate that the value of their contributions stems from their ability to suggest solutions instead of simply describing problems or stating customer needs. Lead users’ technical expertise also makes them particularly well-suited to develop new functionalities, but less so for design and usability improvements. The digital context favors the creation of explicit knowledge that can be easily integrated into the development of new products. Finally, contributions given by lead users in a proactive way contain more novel insights than reactive contributions such as answers to community members’ questions. The findings should help managers stimulate, identify, and improve the use of lead users’ input in virtual communities.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733311001636
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 167-177

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:1:p:167-177

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

    Related research

    Keywords: Lead users; Virtual communities; Knowledge value; Innovation;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Claudio Giachetti & Gianluca Marchi & Riccardo Corradini, 2012. "UsersÕ ability to anticipate incremental and radical innovation in online communities: The role of product knowledge and willingness to participate in the community life," Working Papers 15, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    2. G. Parmentier & Vincent Mangematin, 2014. "Orchestrating innovation with user communities in the creative industries," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) halshs-00848861, HAL.

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