Online Social Networks as a Catalyst for Software and IT Innovation

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People have many creative ideas, but only a few of these ideas are realized and lead to innovation. Good ideas often fail because they are not shared between innovators and stakeholders, hence are unlikely to be realized. Consequently, many opportunities are missed to excite customers and to gain a competitive advantage. This paper proposes an innovation process that uses online social networks to lower the hurdle to sharing ideas. The process leverages diffusion effects of social networks while supporting the generation, evaluation, consolidation, and implementation of innovative ideas with lightweight activities. The process is illustrated and discussed using an application example. Although we are focusing on innovation regarding software-intensive systems, we foresee that the discussed process has the potential to be applied to other domains as well.

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Online Social Networks as a Catalyst for Software and IT Innovation

  1. 1. Online Social Networksas a Catalyst forSoftware and IT Innovation Leif Singer | leif.singer@inf.uni-hannover.de | @lsinger Norbert Seyff | seyff@ifi.uzh.ch Samuel A. Fricker | samuel.fricker@bth.se | @samuelfricker September 5th 2011 S O F T W A R EE N G I N E E R I N G 4th International Workshop on Social Software Engineering
  2. 2. Agenda Platforms for Innovation Requirements for an Innovation Process Literature Review An Innovation Process for Online Social Networks 2
  3. 3. Platforms for Innovation “the average U.S. employees ideas, big or small, are implemented only once every six years” “more innovative companies typically implement far more employee ideas” – Rachel Emma Silverman,WSJ http://j.mp/sse11-wsj 3
  4. 4. Platforms for Innovation• Platforms for Open Innovation, Crowd Sourcing of Innovation, ... – mostly for companies looking to fill a specific gap 4
  5. 5. Requirements for an Innovation Process• Do these platforms work? How? Why?• What about innovation not tied to a specific business need? – What kind of innovation process could work for these?➡ Requirements for an Innovation Process – from work on Star Search process – aimed at innovation in software – no problem statement, no pitch! 5
  6. 6. Requirements for an Innovation Process R1 Quality R1: Ideas need to be good• judging an idea is hardest for the inventor• an innovation process should evaluate idea quality• only the best ideas should persist 6
  7. 7. Requirements for an Innovation Process R2 Share R2: Ideas need to be shared• ideas need to reach the right people who can ... – add valuable feedback – pass it on – join forces – support realization 7
  8. 8. Requirements for an Innovation Process R3 Combine R3: Ideas need to be combined• different perspectives add value to ideas – developer vs. user – management vs. marketing vs. engineering➡ connect related ideas, reveal synergies 8
  9. 9. Requirements for an Innovation Process R4 Understand R4: Ideas need to be well understood• trade-off: long-term innovation vs. reactive development• ideas at relative disadvantage compared to customer requirements➡ invest in & enhance ideas that are really understood to lower risks 9
  10. 10. Requirements for an Innovation Process R5 Select R5: Ideas need to be selected• realization requires scarce resources – people, time, financing• ideas are abundant➡ choose which ideas to fund and implement 10
  11. 11. Literature Review Information Diffusion Literature Effect on Idea Process Platform Requirements Kwak2010: ideas may reach very far reach RT reach (not distant people R2 count) independent Share of followers Sun2009: idea from only one user social filtering “viral” posts will not spread R1 originate from Quality multiple users R5 Select 11
  12. 12. Literature Review Behavior Adoption Literature Effect on Idea Process Platform Requirements Burke2009, influence behavior of motivate Centola2010: innovators and sharing, social reinforcement commenters commenting, makes others do the same as their voting friends (to a certain R2 degree) Share see also: Sinan Aral R3 Combine R5 Select 12
  13. 13. Literature Review Community Composition Literature Effect on Idea Process Platform Requirements Roger2005: heterogenous different Ideas spread faster communities with perspectives in diverse groups thought leaders desirable R3 thought leaders Combine crucial for adoption Kwak2010, helps in bringing similar similar Thelwall2009: people together perspectives homophily exists in R4 OSNs Understand 13
  14. 14. Literature Review Literature on ... Information Behavior Community Diffusion Adoption Composition R1 Quality R2 Share R3 Combine R4 Understand R5 Select 14
  15. 15. An Innovation Process for Online Social Networks Idea Conception • Have an idea and scribble it down! Idea Publication ... then post it online. Initial Feedback Idea Communication Community Building Idea Refinement Realization Options 15
  16. 16. An Innovation Process for Online Social Networks Idea Conception • Share your idea with your social network! Idea Publication Initial Feedback Idea Communication Community Building Idea Refinement Realization Options 16
  17. 17. An Innovation Process for Online Social Networks Idea Conception • I like your idea! Idea Publication Initial Feedback Idea Communication Community Building Idea Refinement Realization Options 17
  18. 18. An Innovation Process for Online Social Networks Idea Conception • Repost! Reshare! Retweet! Idea Publication • Sounds interesting, let’s discuss this ... Initial Feedback Idea Communication Community Building Idea Refinement Realization Options 18
  19. 19. An Innovation Process for Online Social Networks Idea Conception • You don’t know me, but I found your idea and I’d like to talk Idea Publication about this ... Initial Feedback • A friend told me about your idea, may I join you? Idea Communication Community Building Idea Refinement Realization Options 19
  20. 20. An Innovation Process for Online Social Networks Idea Conception • What are our options? Idea Publication • But what about ...? Initial Feedback • Can we resolve this problem? Idea Communication Community Building Idea Refinement Realization Options 20
  21. 21. An Innovation Process for Online Social Networks Idea Conception • Let’s post this to Kickstarter! Idea Publication • I know someone who works there ...! Initial Feedback Idea Communication • I was looking for an idea for a startup anyway, may I use this? Community Building Idea Refinement Realization Options 21
  22. 22. Summary• understand existing platforms for crowd sourcing of ideas• innovation platform without concrete business needs?• requirements for an innovation prozess from Star Search – initial literature review: can be supported in OSNs• initial draft process• Outlook – experiments in public OSNs – systematic literature review 22

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