Open Innovation: User collaboration through online communities

Last week, at the Product Innovation Management Conference (PIM), the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) launched their guide to the implementation of Open Innovation for new product development. A lot of fancy names in this paragraph, so we’re proud to share that our very own Thomas Troch (Senior Research Manager) and Tom De Ruyck (Head of Consumer Consulting Boards) contributed a full chapter on our award-winning Consumer Consulting Board method (also known as private online communities).

“There’s a common understanding that involving (potential) users in the development of goods and services results in propositions that better fit the needs of users and have a higher chance of success when they hit the market. By allowing (potential) users to participate in innovation, the organization will become more “open” and thus move from inside‐out thinking to outside‐in thinking.
To anticipate the changing needs and expectations of users, it’s not enough to do this at one moment in time. Private online communities provide a working tool to collaborate with users and structurally integrate their voice in every phase, making innovation more agile. Embedding the voice of the user in the internal processes supports fast decision making – not only to validate insights, ideas, and concepts, but to co‐develop them in iterative cycles.”
Excerpt from the chapter by Thomas Troch and Tom De Ruyck

The purpose of their chapter is to provide the product development professional with a hands‐on guide to integrate user collaboration through private online communities in the innovation practice. The chapter starts with the rationale for collaborating with (potential) users and provides a comparison of different methods and guidelines as to when to use them, followed by the main objectives of such a collaboration, illustrated with case studies. And finally it provides a step‐by‐step manual for setting up your very own user community or Consumer Consulting Board.
More information about the full Open Innovation guide is available via the Wiley website.

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