Collaborating with Customers to Innovate
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Collaborating with Customers to Innovate

Conceiving and Marketing Products in the Networking Age

Emanula Prandelli, Mohanbir Sawhney and Gianmario Verona

The book enriches an important debate in management and in academia on the new product development process. It encompasses marketing approaches and is sharply focused on the opportunities that digital technologies have created for involving customers in collaborative innovation, and actionable recommendations for putting collaborative innovation to work.
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Chapter 1: An Increasing Need for Innovation

Emanula Prandelli, Mohanbir Sawhney and Gianmario Verona


INTRODUCTION Almost a century ago, Joseph Schumpeter (1991), a heterodox Austrian economist, argued that economics needs to do more than simply be the science that studies the allocation of scarce resources. If this were the case, the economic problems would simply be a matter of algorithms and equations. Schumpeter believed that economics should focus on the dynamics of change stimulated by innovation. Innovation promotes growth and generates imitation. In so doing, it causes repeated cycles where equilibria are formed and then destroyed. Economics has, in its very nature, the force that sustains but also destroys. Therefore, it is a science that must also study innovation, progress and the evolution of social systems. As Schumpeter points out, the different forms of innovation, including new products, new processes, organizational innovations and new kinds of markets, represent a significant driver of capitalist systems and the economies of different countries. Innovation does not happen by serendipity or chance. It is a systematic process that needs to be managed. Indeed, Schumpeter (1943), in highlighting the strategic and organizational implications of innovation, suggested that innovation can be a managerial process in a large enterprise. Large firms can systematically create innovation through their research and development (R&D) efforts, and they can harness the profits generated by innovations to protect themselves from the competitive forces of their markets. While Schumpeter understood the principal dynamics of innovation at the industrial level, as well as the entrepreneurial and managerial drive behind innovation, he could...

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