Consumers as Co-Developers Learning and innovation outside the firm
This study describes a process in which a firm relies on an external consumer community for innovation. While it has been recognized that users may sometimes innovate, little is known about what commercial firms can do to motivate and capture such innovations and their related benefits. We contribute to the strategy literature by suggesting that learning and innovation efforts from which a firm may benefit need not necessarily be located within the organization, but may well reside in the consumer environment. We also contribute to the existing theory on “user-driven innovation” by showing what firms purposively can do to generate consumer innovation efforts. An explorative case study shows that consumer innovation can be structured, motivated, and partly organized by a commercial firm that lays out the infrastructure for interactive learning by consumers in a public online domain.
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