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 4: Managing an Integrated Portfolio of Tools for Collaborative Innovation

Emanula Prandelli, Mohanbir Sawhney and Gianmario Verona


4.1 INTRODUCTION As we have highlighted in the previous chapter, firms can use a variety of Internet-based mechanisms to facilitate collaborative innovation. These mechanisms differ in terms of the stage of the new product development (NPD) process that they are most useful for. In this chapter, we show how best-practice firms are integrating different mechanisms into a synergistic portfolio. Specifically, in Section 4.2 we describe how using web-based tools can go beyond their simple association with specific innovation activities. These tools can be combined and modified, taking into consideration the degree of customer involvement they require. We combine a review of past literature and empirical findings with an in-depth analysis of selected case studies to propose a portfolio-based approach for web-based collaborative innovation. We also identify the principal advantages and limitations of each set of tools to sketch out guidelines for companies as they decide which tools to use in their decision-making process. In Section 4.3 we provide detailed evidence from two case studies of bestpractice firms that have successfully implemented an integrated portfolio of web-based mechanisms supporting collaborative innovation – Ducati Motor from the motorcycle industry, and Eli Lilly from the pharmaceutical industry. Finally, in Section 4.4 we discuss the organizational aspects of collaborative innovation. Based on interviews with marketing and information technology (IT) managers from a selected sample of companies, we offer insights into the effective implementation of customer knowledge absorbed through collaborative innovation in the organization. We also explore whether companies...

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