Follow the Leader - User Innovations


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Di Gangi, P. M. (2008) Following the leader: Predicting user innovations from structural social capital in an open innovation community. Proceedings of the XXVIII International Sunbelt Social Network Conference.

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  • Start with Nestle Story
  • User Innovation Community Prior research on user-driven innovation processes has focused almost entirely on treating external sources of innovation as an organization-controlled process Strategic human resource positioning from Dahlander & Wallin Open Source Communities Lead User Process from Von Hippel 3M – Surgical Drapings Absorptive Capacity Issue (FROM IS WORLD THEORY SECTION) Absorptive capacity is a limit to the rate or quantity of scientific or technological information that a firm can absorb. Conceptually, it is similar to information processing theory, but at the firm level rather than the individual level. Absorptive capacity was introduced by Cohen and Levinthal in 1990. Zahra and George (2002) extended the theory by specifying four distinct dimensions to absorptive capacity: acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation. When absorption limits exist, they provide one explanation for firms to develop internal R&D capacities. R&D departments can not only conduct development along lines they are already familiar with, but they have formal training and external professional connections that make it possible for them to evaluate and incorporate externally generated technical knowledge into the firm. In other words, a partial explanation for R&D investments by firms is to work around the absorptive capacity constraint. User Innovation Community Absorptive Capacity Issues: Identification of Relevant User Innovations by Organizations – Di Gangi & Wasko Development of User Innovations by the Community – Di Gangi & Wasko LEADS INTO >>> Recognizing that organizations cannot control the innovation process, they merely support it when they internalize end users into its process. How do we find the diamonds in the rough? We must identify the lead users that Von Hippel has suggested but in a more narrow field of vision (Specifically, we create a boundary around the lead user process that focuses on the users within the user innovation communities)
  • Based on Von Hippel’s work and the importance of not exceeding an organization’s absorptive capacity, the research question focuses on creating shortcuts for organizations that choose to implement an open innovation process that incorporates end users using user innovation communities that are internalized within an organization’s boundary. Different from Dahlander and Wallin’s study, this study seeks to address the issues that arise when we internalize a user innovation community and relinquish the control of the innovation process to its end users Similar to Cohen & Levinthal’s argument, the focus of this study is on identifying relevant user innovations to absorb into its product and service portfolio through identifying lead users as suggested by Von Hippel and colleagues Similar to Chesborough’s argument, this study focuses on incorporating end users into the innovation process – opening up the black box of innovation to include environmental agents Similar to Cohen & Levinthal’s argument, this study focuses on how to minimize absorptive capacity issues when an unknown number of contributors using technology can test the limits of an organization’s capabilities for acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation of user innovations.
  • Lead users are inherently social: Luthje and Rogers both suggest that lead users or early knowers are socially participatory Von Hippel’s early Lead User Process model focuses on identifying the leaders in each field that an innovation would require >>> Discuss the 3M innovation process
  • Follow the Leader - User Innovations

    1. 1. Following the Leader: Predicting Lead Users from Structural Capital in a User Innovation Community Paul M. Di Gangi Florida State University College of Business Department of Management Information Systems International Sunbelt XXVIII Social Network Conference 2008 – Online Social Networks
    2. 3. Pathways to User Innovation
    3. 4. Pathways to User Innovation
    4. 5. Pathways to User Innovation
    5. 6. Pathways to User Innovation
    6. 7. Absorptive Capacity <ul><li>User Innovation Community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Distributed groups of individuals focused on solving a general problem and/or developing a new solution supported by computer-mediated communication” (Dahlander & Wallin, 2006 p. 1246) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Absorptive Capacity Issue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A limit to the rate or quantity of information that an organization can absorb (Cohen & Levinthal, 1990) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporating technology changes the process (Di Gangi & Wasko, Under Review – JSIS ) </li></ul></ul>
    7. 8. Research Question <ul><li>Q: How can we identify lead users in an electronic user innovation community? </li></ul>
    8. 9. Structural Social Capital <ul><li>An individual’s network of relationships (Nahapiet & Goshal, 1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Access to information (Burt, 1992; Granovetter, 1979) </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to influence the innovation process </li></ul><ul><li>(Di Gangi & Wasko – Under Review ; Siebert, Kraimer, & Liden, 2001) </li></ul>
    9. 10. Study Context – Dell IdeaStorm <ul><li>Dell IdeaStorm ( </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduced January 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>7,866 User Innovations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As of November 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Over 50,000 Comments Posted </li></ul><ul><li>Over 400,000 Votes </li></ul>
    10. 11. Dell IdeaStorm Idea Category Site Category
    11. 12. Research Model
    12. 13. Methodology – Data Collection <ul><li>Three Time Periods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>February to April 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>119 Seed Users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>11,011 Affiliations/ 987 Ideas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3 Adopted Ideas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May to July 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1,799 Seed Users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>26,754 Affiliations/ 2,082 Ideas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10 Adopted Ideas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>August to October 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Data Collection in Progress </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4 Adopted Ideas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Affiliation Networks (Grewal, Lillien, & Mallapgragada, 2006; Wasserman & Faust, 1994) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seed users from adopted ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ideas seed users participated in during time period </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Membership lists of secondary ideas </li></ul></ul>
    13. 14. User Centralities <ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User centralities over time (Wasserman & Faust, 1994) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Centrality Measures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Degree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Most ties within the network </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Closeness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Proximity to others within the network </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eigenvector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Importance of user within the network </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 15. Initial Findings <ul><li>Lead Users may not be Innovators </li></ul><ul><li>Lead Users may be Specialists or Generalists </li></ul><ul><li>Domain of expertise (Category) can influence who will be a Lead User </li></ul><ul><li>Overall, similar Lead Users found among all three types of structural social capital </li></ul>
    15. 16. Contributions <ul><li>Practical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guidance for absorptive capacity issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leveraging a volunteer workforce that is intrinsically motivated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Types of lead users/ content experts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theoretical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dimensionality of social capital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory of lead users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition of lead user </li></ul></ul>
    16. 17. Limitations & Future Directions <ul><li>Limitations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User Identification of a Categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generalizability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Future Directions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizational involvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Additional roles of social capital in open innovation processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Electronic user innovation communities </li></ul></ul>
    17. 18. Questions