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Virtual lead user communities: Drivers of knowledge creation for innovation

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  • Mahr, Dominik
  • Lievens, Annouk

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mahr, Dominik & Lievens, Annouk, 2012. "Virtual lead user communities: Drivers of knowledge creation for innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 167-177.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:1:p:167-177
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2011.08.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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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. van der Boor, Paul & Oliveira, Pedro & Veloso, Francisco, 2014. "Users as innovators in developing countries: The global sources of innovation and diffusion in mobile banking services," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1594-1607.
    3. G. Parmentier & Vincent Mangematin, 2014. "Orchestrating innovation with user communities in the creative industries," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) halshs-00848861, HAL.
    4. Martinez-Torres, Rocio & Olmedilla, Maria, 2016. "Identification of innovation solvers in open innovation communities using swarm intelligence," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 15-24.
    5. Sajad Rezaei & Wan Khairuzzaman Wan Ismail, 2014. "Examining online channel selection behaviour among social media shoppers: a PLS analysis," International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 28-51.
    6. Paris Chrysos, 2015. "Value Care: Managing The Emerging. The Case Of Developer Support Forums," Post-Print halshs-01584767, HAL.
    7. repec:wsi:ijitmx:v:14:y:2017:i:04:n:s0219877017500225 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hu, Guangyu & Rong, Ke & Shi, Yongjiang & Yu, Jing, 2014. "Sustaining the emerging carbon trading industry development: A business ecosystem approach of carbon traders," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 587-597.
    9. von Krogh, Georg & Geilinger, Nina, 2014. "Knowledge creation in the eco-system: Research imperatives," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 155-163.
    10. Dejean, Sylvain & Jullien, Nicolas, 2015. "Big from the beginning: Assessing online contributors’ behavior by their first contribution," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 1226-1239.
    11. Stockstrom, Christoph S. & Goduscheit, René Chester & Lüthje, Christian & Jørgensen, Jacob Høj, 2016. "Identifying valuable users as informants for innovation processes: Comparing the search efficiency of pyramiding and screening," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 507-516.
    12. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:2:p:498-510 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Parmentier, Guy & Mangematin, Vincent, 2014. "Orchestrating innovation with user communities in the creative industries," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 40-53.

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