Involving users in innovation
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
User involvement in social media
Co-innovation in Owela (Open Web Lab)
Facilitation of the process
Co-creation with multicultural users
Experiences of private and public sector innovation
Why user/customer/consumer/citizen involvement?
Participatory design: Everyone has a right to be
involved in the decisions affecting their life 
Co-creation: Customers add value to the product,
when they are involved from the early phases of
the innovation process 
User innovation: Users are a significant source of innovation
especially at the site of using the product or service 
Community innovation: Innovation starts outside companies in
distributed and networked user communities 
Opportunities in social media
Reaching more users and customers
Easily, quickly and cost-efficiently
Participation regardless of time and place
Enough space for everyone’s voice
Users as innovators and design partners that are
continuously connected with the developers
Voting mechanisms support decision-making
Open and transparent design process
More people can contribute with their knowledge
Social media as a space for open innovation
Outsourcing part of the design work
to the crowd on the web
Mostly short time contribution
Design challenges: ”micro-tasks”
Online design spaces
Participatory / collaborative design
User/stakeholder participation during the whole process
Transparent and community driven approach (e.g. open source)
Share, vote and comment feedback and ideas!
Suggest a better design!
Design the user interface!
Owela (Open Web Lab)
Online space for open innovation and co-design
Public idea forum
Design projects (public or restricted)
Social media tools are easy for users
Blog-like idea posting, commenting, rating,
Images, videos, slideshows
User profiles with background information
Activity points based on participation
User involvement in all phases of innovation process
Consumer studies as a basis for innovation
Online focus group discussion, diaries, chat sessions, surveys
Open ideation based on selected themes
Comments, rating, new ideas, selection by voting
Comments on (visual) scenario, mock-up or prototype
Prototype testing and feedback (online or real world)
Chat sessions, bug reports, discussion with developers
(Long-term) user-driven innovation project, where users are
seen as design partners
User motivations to participate in innovation
“The possibility to participate”: opportunity to express own
opinions and influence, be part of decision-making
People: Networking, activity of others
Topic: Personal interest, learning, curiosity, fun
Result: change in society, better products for oneself
Tools: channel to express own creativity
Feedback: comments of others, reminders
Others: monetary rewards, CV entry, invitation
Facilitation needs attention
Structure and schedule of the process:
Goals and tasks must be clear for users
Defining tasks: Simple tasks are easier to
contribute than ”real” design issues
Continuous updating: The design space should
not die. Reminders are needed.
Text-based communication: Ideas must be clearly presented,
comments may be misunderstood
Moderation: Should negative comments be moderated?
Social media service for immigrants (and associations) to enhance
civic participation and collaboration with locals and public sector
Shared case study of two research projects
Somus: Social media for citizens and public sector
collaboration (VTT, Aalto University, University of Tampere)
EPACE: Exchanging good practices for the promotion of an
active citizenship in the EU (Ministry of Justice)
in collaboration with the network of multicultural
associations in Helsinki capital area (Moniheli)
Monimos design process
Transparent, open and democratic design process
Community-driven: users choose, what they need, and
participate in the whole design process as design partners
How to involve an unknown user group in the design process?
How to make users involved in the design process over a long
period of time?
How to make participation possible for everyone, who is
interested in it?
Solution: Workshops + Online tools
w/ Monimos team
Workshops + Owela
Using online tools in workshops
Distance participation via Skype, Etherpad and Bambuser
Open co-design in Owela
Discussion, feature suggestions, voting,
layout, service name, testing
Meeting place for internationally
minded people in Finland
Immigrants as active participants
objects of discussion
Associations as driving forces
for networking, real world events
and taking action
voices are heard
User involvement in public vs. private sector 1/2
Who takes part?
Way of acting?
Lack of courage
User involvement in public vs. private sector 2/2
Fast and agile
Lack of time
How social media affects user involvement?
 Schuler, D. and Namioka, A. (1993): Participatory design: Principles and practices.
Erlbaum, Hillsdale, New Jersey.
 Piller, F. and Ihl C. (2009): Open Innovation with Customers – Foundations,
Competences and International Trends. Aachen: RWTH ZLW-IMA 2009.
Prahalad, C. K. and Ramaswamy V. (2004): The Future of Competition: Co-
Creating Unique Value with Customers, Harvard Business School Press.
 von Hippel, E. (1986): ‘Lead users: a source of novel product concepts’,
Management Science, vol. 32, no. 7, pp. 791–805.
von Hippel, E. (2001): ‘Perspective: User toolkits for innovation’, Journal of Product
Innovation Management, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 247-257.
von Hippel, E. (2005): Democratizing Innovation. The MIT Press.
 Botero, A., Vihavainen, S., and Karku, K. (2009): ‘From closed to open to what? An
exploration on community innovation principles’, in Proceedings of the 13th
International MindTrek Conference: Everyday Life in the Ubiquitous Era, Tampere,
Finland, ACM Press, pp. 198- 202.