How can companies unlock the potential of social media for innovation? A recent study published in the Journal of Product Innovation Management, a leading high-ranking international publication, explores a number of social media-enabled strategies for open innovation and provides new insights into driving ideas and inspiration for businesses.
Prof. Emmanuel Josserand also teaches at the University of Geneva, and the Business Science Institute. He is also an associate fellow at the University of Technology Sydney. His research focuses on business and social innovation. These activities resulted in a strong publication track record, with more than 150 academic publications. He also brings strong experience in managing research applied and fundamental projects on the topic.
Understanding the impact of social media on business innovation
In a nutshell, this new study concludes that two strategies are associated with stronger performance outcomes. On the one hand, comprehensive open innovation strategies are best associated with a broad internal and external deployment of social media across departments and stages of the innovation process; in that case, the study found that an ambitious open innovation process is best suited.
In open innovation, external partners such as customers, suppliers, or even competitors are associated with the innovation process. On the other hand, much more selective strategies, deploying social media mainly for marketing or communication are also to be considered since they yield more limited benefits and come with lesser costs. These two strategies are more rewarding than a middle way that spreads things too thin.
Interestingly, almost 45% of the firms surveyed fall into this middle way. They tend to invest without a clear strategy on how to rip the benefits of social media for innovation. The results contrast with the traditionally positive (or even rosy) depiction of the effects of social media on innovation.
Social media for innovation is not a panacea and investments should be calibrated cautiously. Managers should consider their organizational competencies, capabilities, and strategic intent when drafting social media strategies for innovation. This will help them adjust their ambition to their capabilities and choose between using social media confined to marketing and communication or launching a more ambitious open innovation strategy.
This article by Emmanuel Josserand is based on his paper, “Configurations of social media‐enabled strategies for open innovation, firm performance, and their barriers to adoption“, co-authored by Pierre-Jean Barlatier, Emmanuel Josserand, Jan Hohberger, Anne-Laure Mention.
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