Open Innovation through Customers: Collaborative Web-Based Platforms for Ethically and Socially Responsible New Products Part 2

Open Innovation through Customers: Collaborative Web-Based Platforms for Ethically and Socially Responsible New Products Part 2

Barbara Aquilani (University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy) and Tindara Abbate (University of Messina, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5880-6.ch017
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This chapter aims at analyzing how firms can successfully embrace an Open Innovation (OI) process through customers, involving them individually or in communities, in the co-creation of ideas, knowledge, products, services, processes, putting into action and integrating their creativity with firms' resources. Three main areas of interest, essential in the authors' opinion to meet this new challenge, have been analyzed through a literature review process, to create a framework able to show the challenges organizations have to meet externally (i.e., consumerism) and internally (i.e., organizational changes) in this shift of the innovation paradigm: consumerism features and challenges, OI approach and web-based platforms, and organizational issues involved in the OI paradigm shift. The previous chapter has discussed consumerism and OI approach, while this one will afford OI platforms and organizational changes as well as the resulting framework. Four contributions distinguish this study: (i) the link between consumerism and OI; (ii) the focus on customers as a source of external innovation; (iii) the identification of alternative ways to access OI with customers and their features; (iv) the disclosure of a “hybrid” mode to develop OI through customers.
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Open Innovation Approach And Platform [Sequel]

To fully understand how firms can successfully implement OI through customers in the previous chapter we have discussed the changing scenario in which firms have to operate and the new challenges they have to face, analyzing the consumerism issue under different perspectives: (i) consumerism as “exaggerate consumption” and its implications at different levels; (ii) the consumer movement and the potential role different private and public bodies might have in protecting consumers; (iii) the answer of firms in terms of attention to the changing needs, desires and priorities of consumers. We then analyze the OI paradigm as well as the opportunities and threats it generates for firms’ innovation activity and, more in general, business development. To complete the study of the three main areas of interest, which are essential in the authors’ opinion, to really understand how to successfully manage and develop OI through customers. In this chapter we will afford OI platforms issues and the organizational changes argument, before describing the framework and concluding with some suggestions for future research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Open Innovation through Customers: Is the active involvement of customers, whether considered as individuals and/or communities, in the firm OI processes which can take place directly, through an OI platform created and managed by the firm or indirectly, thanks to the skilled and professional interface put in place and run by OI intermediaries.

Open Innovation (OI) Platform: OI platform is a virtual environment useful to stimulate, create and aggregate individuals in an innovation community and to open up the innovation processes of companies. This platform fosters creativity and innovation to solve potential issues and problems, facilitating interactions between participants through different online mechanisms and web 2.0 tools.

Open Innovation Customers: They are individuals, often motivated and qualified, able to participate and contribute actively in the innovation processes of companies which have to define different ways of acquiring and supporting their creativity and innovative ideas about products and services in order to meet their changing needs.

Open Innovation Customer Communities: They are voluntary groups of individuals distributed worldwide which interact and work with other individuals with whom they share interests, passions, affinity, curiosity, sense of membership, willingness to participate, ideas, knowledge and personal experiences for creating, developing and disseminating creativity and innovation, normally on behalf of firms.

Co-Creation: Co-creation is a collaborative situation in which firms and consumers or consumers among themselves interact all together to create valuable products, services and experiences for both the consumers and the firm.

Open Innovation Intermediary (OII): An Open Innovation Intermediary is an organization that, as a third party, plays a relevant role in the innovation processes because it creates, connects different type of entities, supports efficient networks for discovering and developing novel solutions to innovation problems and provides an open marketplace for ideas, knowledge and technology.

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