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FromSocialMediatoSocialProductDevelopment: TheImpactofSocialMediaonCoCreationofInnovation

FrankPiller,AlexanderVossenandChristophIhl
Abstract:Theobjectiveofthispaperistodiscusstheimpactofsocialmediaoncustomercocreation intheinnovationprocess.Customercocreationdenotesanactive,creativeandsocialcollaboration processbetweenproducersandcustomers(users),facilitatedbyacompany,inthecontextofnew productorservicedevelopment.Weproposeatypologyofcocreationactivitiesinordertodevelop conceptualargumentshowsocialmediacanimpacttherelationshipsamongcustomersinvolvedin cocreationaswellastherelationshipbetweencustomersandthehostingfirm.Socialmediacan makeeconomicexchangerelationsmorecollaborativeandsocial,butinterestinglymayalsoturn relationsformerlybasedonsocialexchangeinto"moneymarkets"withstrongcompetitionamong actors.Asaresult,wedevelopasetofquestionsthatcanleadfutureresearchintheseregards. Keywords:Openinnovation,cocreation,socialmedia,socialproductdevelopment Zusammenfassung:DasZieldiesesAufsatzesistes,dieBedeutungsozialerMedienfrCustomerCo CreationimInnovationsprozesszuuntersuchen.DerBegriffCustomerCoCreationbezeichnetin diesemZusammenhangeineaktive,kreativeundsozialeZusammenarbeitzwischenHerstellernund Kunden(Nutzern)imRahmenderEntwicklungneuerProdukteoderDienstleistungen.Wirschlagen eineTypologievonCoCreationAktivittenvor,umsystematischzuargumentieren,wiesoziale MediendieBeziehungenzwischenKundenuntereinanderunddieBeziehungendieserKundenmit Unternehmenbeeinflussenknnen.SozialeMedienknnenaufdereinenSeiteursprnglich konomischundkompetitivgeprgteMarktbeziehungenzumehrZusammenarbeitfhren(siealso "sozialer"machen),aufderanderenSeiteaberaucheinenursprnglichsozialenAustauschin kompetitiveMarktbeziehungenwandeln.AlsErgebnisentwickelnwireineAgendafrweitere ForschungindiesemThemenfeld. Schlagwrter:Openinnovation,cocreation,socialmedia,socialproductdevelopment FrankPiller,Prof.Dr.,istInhaberdesLehrstuhlsfrTechnologieundInnovationsmanagementan derRWTHAachen. AlexanderVossen,Dipl.Kfm.,istwissenschaftlicherMitarbeiterundDoktorandamLehrstuhlfr TechnologieundInnovationsmanagementanderRWTHAachen. ChristophIhl,Dr.,istHabilitandamLehrstuhlfrTechnologieundInnovationsmanagementander RWTHAachen. Anschrift:RWTHAachen,LehrstuhlTIM,Templergraben55,52056Aachen,Tel.+49241809577, piller|ihl|vossen@tim.rwthaachen.de

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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1975523

1Introduction
Today,thecommonunderstandingoftheinnovationprocessbuildsontheobservationthat firmsrarelyinnovatealoneandthatinnovationisaresultofinteractiverelationshipsamong producers, users, and many other different institutions (Laursen/Salter 2006, Reichwald/ Piller 2009). Mansfield (1986) showed that innovation projects which are based to a large extent on external developments have shorter development times and demand less investmentsthansimilarprojectsbasedsolelyoninternalresearchanddevelopment.Asa result,theearlySchumpeterian(1942)modeloftheloneentrepreneurbringinginnovations to markets has been superseded by a richer picture of different actors in networks and communities(Laursen/Salter2006).Theseactorsareseentoworktogetherinaninteractive process of discovery, realization, and exploitation of a new idea. Innovative performance today is seen to a large extent as the ability of an innovative organization to establish networkswithexternalentities. Key actors in these networks are customers and users of a firm's products and services. Thereisarichliteraturetodaythathasinvestigatedtheroleandcontributionsofcustomers and users in product innovation. Recently, the term cocreation has been established to denotespecialmethodsandstrategiesappliedbyfirmstoengagecustomersandusersinto their innovation process (Prahalad/Ramaswamy 2004). Customer cocreation describes as set of methods that establish an active, creative and social collaboration process between producers and customers (users) in the context of new product development (Roser et al. 2009;Piller/Ihl2010).Itdenotesaparadigmshiftfromamanufacturingactiveparadigmtoa customeractiveparadigm(vonHippel2005). Atthesametime,asimilarparadigmshifthastakenplaceininformationandcommunica tionsystems:frombroadcasttosocialmedia(Kietzmannetal.2011).Thetermsocialmedia denoteshighlyinteractiveplatformsviawhichindividualsandcommunitiesshare,cocreate, discuss, and modify usergenerated content (Kaplan/Haenlein 2010). Examples for social media platforms include blogs (Blogger, Wordpress), microblogging (Twitter), collaborative wikiprojects (Wikipedia), forums (Harley Davidson user groups, Microsoft MSDN), profes sional networking sites (LinkedIn, Xing), and social networks (Facebook, Google+) (Kaplan/Haenlein 2010; Cortizo et al. 2011). While the previously named applications are dominated by the use of text, further applications are dedicated to other forms of media, like photographs (Flickr, Picasa), videos (YouTube, Vimeo), or music tracks (last.fm, ccMixter). Social media today also have expanded into virtual worlds (Second Life) and onlinegaming(WorldofWarcraft,Farmville).Recently,anewfieldofapplicationsinsocial mediaisbasedontheusageofmobiledataandthefastadoptionofsmartphones(Nomad SocialNetworks,Foursquare). These applications have been used by large and small firms to improve their internal operations and to collaborate in new ways with their customers, business partners, and suppliers.Forcompanies,valuecomesnotfromtheplatformitself(whichisthesourceof revenuefortheplatformprovider)butfromhowaparticularsocialmediaplatformisused andfromtheinformationthatiscreatedandsharedontheseplatforms(Culnanetal.2010). Table1providesabriefoverviewofsomeoftheoutcomesthatfirmsexpectfromengaging in social media. A key driver of additional value by social media is that they allow the

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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1975523

formation of online customer communities. However, beyond the attraction of a critical massofparticipantswhoengagewiththefirmorothercommunitymembersonanongoing basis,firmsalsohavetodevelopdedicatedprocessestobenefitfromthecontentcreatedby its customers. Without this second condition, social media is not creating value for a firm (Culnanetal.2010).Wewillillustratesomeoftheseprocessesinthecontextofnewproduct developmentinSection3ofthispaper.
Activity Marketing(advertising,PR) Sales CustomerService/Support Productdevelopment Motiveofusage Drivetraffic,viralmarketing,customerloyalty,customerretention Increaserevenue Costsavings,revenue,customersatisfaction Increasefittomarket,costsavings

Table1:Motivesofcompaniestoengageinsocialmediaapplications(basedonCulnanet al.2010:244) Beyond its impact on the individual firm, social media applications also influence industry structureonanaggregatedlevel.Socialmediahavebeenshowntostronglyshiftthepower inestablishedmarketstructures(asinthecaseofthetraditionalmediaindustries),tocreate newmarkets(asinthecaseofmobileapplications),andtoinfluencecompetitivebehaviorin establishedmarkets(empowermentofcustomers,wordofmouth)(Kaplan/Haenlein2010). Whileitiscommonlybelievedthatsocialmediausagehasahugepotentialforcompanies,it also offers a lot of traps to fall in. Social media offers customers a platform for easily engaging in bad wordofmouth which can lead to a threat for a company's image. An alreadyclassicillustrationisthecaseofUnitedAirlines.TheAirlinewashugelyaffectedbya viral video composed by a musician whose guitar was broken on a United flight (Tripp/Grgoire 2011). Through social media, his bad word of mouth was not only shared among his friends and family, but with about 10,000,000 users on YouTube. This example highlights the risk for companies arising with the occurrence of social media. As a conse quence,companiesnowadaysengageinstrictsocialmediamonitoringandhavepublished socialmediaguidelinestomanagesuchabehavior. The idea of our paper is to systematically discuss how social media is enabling processes alongthenewproductdevelopmentfunctionofafirm.Ourfocuswillbeontheirimpacton customer cocreation. Intuitively, both concepts are closely related. Many examples of customer cocreation in the innovation process are based on applications of social media. ConsiderStarbucksIdeas,awellpopularizedplatformwherecustomerscansharefeedback, butalsogeneratenewofferingsinformofanactivedialogueamongeachotherorwiththe company's management (Gallaugher/Ransbotham 2010; see di Gangi et al. (2010) for a studyofasimilarsystematDellComputers).Thisplatformisentirelybasedonsocialmedia applicationslikeonlineforumsandawikisystem.InGermany,theintermediary"UnserAller" usesaFacebookApptoengagehundredsofusersinideagenerationwithconsumergoods companies. According to their founder, Catharina van Delden, their entire business model

wouldhavenotbeenpossiblewithouttheadventofsocialmediatechnologythatisfreely availableandallowstheconnectionwithmillionsofusersbytappingintoestablisheduser communitiesandenablingcommunicationsamongthematalmostnocost(Reichwald/Piller 2009). The objective of our paper is to complement this anecdotal evidence with a theoretic perspectivethatcanexplaintheimpactofsocialmediaoncocreation.WebuildonFiskes (1992) relational theory and a conceptualization of markets by Heyman and Ariely (2004). We argue that the rise of social media tremendously impacts the relationships among co creatingcustomersaswellastherelationshipbetweenthosecustomersandthefocalfirm. Therefore, we distinguish between cocreation methods in competitive "money markets", whichrelyoneconomicexchangerelations(byofferingmonetaryincentives),andmethods in "social market" relying on socialexchange relations (by offering nonmonetary incen tives).Weproposethattheusageofsocialmediaincustomercocreationisadoubleedged sword, with positive and negative effects. However, these effects vary for both kinds of relationships and for the different cocreation methods. We suppose that for customer customerrelationshipstheintroductionofsocialmediaisbeneficial,whileforcustomerfirm relationshipitbearsnewrisks.Formethodsthatrelyoneconomicexchangerelations,the introduction of social media could actually push those methods more towards a "social market", while for the methods based on socialexchange, social media could drive them moreinto"moneymarket". Theremainingofthispaperisorganizedasfollows.Inthenextsection,wewillreviewthe integrationofcustomersandusersintheinnovationprocessandprovideanoverviewofthe conceptofcustomercocreation.Wepresentatypologyofdifferentformsofcustomerco creation.1Usingthistypology,wewillthensystematicallydiscusstheimpactofsocialmedial oncustomercocreation,usingthemarketconceptualizationbyHeymanandAriely(2004). Foreachtypeofcocreation,wedevelopasetofquestionsthatmayleadfutureresearchin thisfield.

2Customercocreation
Recently,thetermopeninnovationhasbeenusedtocharacterizeasystemwhereinnova tionisnotsolelyperformedinternallywithinafirm,butinacooperativemodewithother externalactors(Reichwald/Piller2009).Openinnovationisopposedtoclosedinnovation,in which companies use only ideas generated within their boundaries, characterized by big corporate research labs and closely managed networks of vertically integrated partners (Chesbrough 2003). Open innovation can be defined as the "use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for
Acknowledgements: An earlier version of this typology has been developed for a report on customer co creationfortheEuropeanCommission(Piller/Ihl2010).Earlierversionsofourtypologyhavebeenpublishedin Ihl/Piller(2010)andPilleretal.(2012).WearegratefulforgrantssupportingthisresearchbytheNRWZiel.2 ProjectOpenIsa,fundedbytheEuropeanSocialFund(ESF).
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externaluseofinnovation,respectively.[]firmscanandshoulduseexternalideasaswell as internalideas, and internal and external paths to market, as they look to advance their technology"(Chesbrough/Crowther2006,222).Inthispaper,wewillfocusoncustomersand usersasexternalsourcesofknowledgeinafirm'sinnovationprocess.Whileopeninnovation has been established as an umbrella term incorporating very different forms of external actorsinformalandinformalrelationshipswhichcontributetoafirm'sinnovationprocess, the term "customer cocreation" recently has been used to specifically characterize firm drivenstrategiesofopeninnovationwithcustomers.

2.1Definition
Thetermcustomercocreationdenotesaproductdevelopmentapproachwherecustomers areactivelyinvolvedandtakepartinthedesignofanew offering(Wikstroem1996;Piller 2004; Prahalad/Ramaswamy 2004). More specifically, customer cocreation has been definedasanactive,creative,andsocialprocess,basedoncollaborationbetweenproducers (retailers)andcustomers(users)(Roseretal.2009;forextendedreviewsoftheactiveroleof customers in the innovation process refer to von Hippel 2005; OHern/Rindfleisch 2009; Piller/Ihl 2010). The idea of cocreation is to actively involve customers in the design or development of future offerings (Ramirez 1999), often with the help of tools that are providedbythefirm. Cocreationactivitiesareperformedinanactofcompanytocustomerinteractionwhichis facilitatedbythecompany.Themanufactureriseitherempoweringitscustomerstodesigna solutionbythemselvesorisimplementingmethodologiestoefficientlytransferaninnova tivesolutionfromthecustomerintothecompanydomain(Seybold2006;Tapscott/Williams 2006; Reichwald/Piller 2009). Examples for methods include ideation contests (Piller/Walcher 2006; Terwiesch/Xu 2008), lead user workshops (von Hippel 1988, 2005), consumer opinion platform (HennigThurau et al. 2004), toolkits for user innovation (Thomke/vonHippel2002;vonHippel/Katz2002),codesigntoolkits(Franke/Piller2004),or communities for customer cocreation (Franke/Shah 2003; Fller et al. 2008). The main objective is to enlarge the base of information about needs, applications, and solution technologiesthatresidesinthedomainofthecustomersandusersofaproductorservice. This information can be used to increase the "fit to market" of a new offering, hence decreasingtheriskofproductflops,ortoenhancetheinnovativenessofanoffering,hence increasing its potential to capture the monopolistic rents which are typical for a radical innovation(Reichwald/Piller2009).

2.2Cocreationversusmarketresearch
Atthispoint,wehavetomakeanimportantdifferentiationbetweencustomercocreation and conventional market research in new product development (Fredberg/Piller 2011). In market research, companies ask a representative sample of customers for input to their innovation process. In the early stages of an innovation project, customer preferences or unmetneedsareidentifiedviasurveys,qualitativeinterviews,orfocusgroups("voiceofthe customer" methods, Griffin/Hauser 1993). In the later stages of an innovation project, different solutions or concepts are presented to customers so they can react to proposed designsolutions.Forexample,amanufacturermayrecruit"pilotcustomers"or"betausers".

Thesecustomersareobservedandregularlysurveyedtousetheirexperiencesandideasfor improvements of the prototype product before launching it in the general target market (Dolan/Matthews1993).However,alloftheseapproachesstayinthe"manufacturingactive paradigm"(vonHippel1978)andbuildonfeedbackfromrepresentativesamplesofcustom ersonstatementsorpropositionsmadebythefirm. Amorerecentformofmarketresearch,butnoactiveformofcocreationinourunderstand ing either, is to "listen into" the customer domain by analyzing existing customer infor mationfromdiverseinputchannelslikefeedbackfromsalespeople,analyzingthesalesdata fromthelastseason,internetlogfiles,orresearchreportsbythirdparties(Dahan/Hauser 2002). Here, social media applications have created a huge additional input cannel. In this context, especially the method of netnography is noteworthy (Kozinets 1998, 2002) Netnographyis"anewqualitativeresearchmethodologythatadaptsethnographicresearch techniques to study cultures and communities that are emerging through computer mediated communications" (Kozinets 2002: 62). Compared with other methods, it is less time consuming, potentially less obtrusive, and less costly (Langer/Beckmann 2005). Nethnographyusedtoprimarilyanalyzetheobservationoftextualdiscourse.Here,modern approaches to text mining and content analysis have expedited the coding and analysis of data.However,socialmedialapplicationsalsoallowuserstoeasilyaddpicturesorvideoto their content, enhancing the richness of the content that can be extracted from user communities. Bartl and Ivanovic (2010) present a good case study of the application of netnography at Beiersdorf (Nivea), where the analysis of existing user content in social media applications (twitter, Facebook comments, and user forums) has provided this companyaccesstoradicalnewcustomerinsightswhichresultedinthesuccessfullaunchofa newlineofcosmeticproducts.

2.3Atypologyofcocreation
Withinourdefinitionofcustomercocreationasanactive,creative,andsocialcollaboration process between producers and customers in the context of new product development (Roser et al. 2009; Piller/Ihl 2010), we can distinguish different modes how customers can contribute to innovative activities of the firm. Customer cocreation is a multifaceted phenomenon. A conceptual typology of customer cocreation shall help to structure the relationshipsandtiesbetweenfirmsandcustomersintheinnovationprocess. Thefirstdimensionofourtypologyisbasedonthekindofinformationthatshallbeprovid ed.Ineveryinnovationprocess,firmsfacevarioussourcesofuncertaintywithregardtotheir technological and managerial capabilities and the target markets. Thomke (2003) names technical, production, need, and market uncertainty. To reduce these uncertainties, firms needtoaccessandtransferdifferenttypesofinformation(Cassiman/Veugelers2006).Ina generic framework, this information can be divided into two groups (Ogawa 1998; von Hippel1998;Diener/Piller2010): Information on customer and market needs (need information), i.e. information about preferences, needs, desires, satisfaction, motives, etc. of the customers and users kin thetargetmarket.Betteraccesstosufficientneedrelatedinformationisincreasingthe effectivenessoftheinnovationactivities.Itreducestheriskoffailure.Needinformation

buildsonanindepthunderstandingandappreciationofthecustomersrequirements, operations,andsystems. Information on (technological) solution possibilities (solution information), i.e. infor mationabouthowtoapplyatechnologytotransformcustomerneedsintonewprod ucts and services best. Access to solution information is primarily addressing the effi ciencyoftheinnovationprocess.Bettersolutioninformationenablesproductdevelop erstoengageinmoredirectedproblemsolvingactivitiesintheinnovationprocess.

Theseconddimensionofourtypologybuildsontheincentivesthatdriveexternalactorsto participate in a firmdriven innovation activity. Remember that cocreation is a voluntarily form of firmcustomercustomer interaction. Hence it has to be motivated by dedicated incentives so that potential participants are willing to engage in a cocreation offering. Earlier research has been shown that customers are either motivated by extrinsic benefits (money,recognition,reputation)orintrinsicbenefits(socialstatus,taskfulfillment,altruism) (Fller2010).BuildingonFiskesrelationaltheory(1992)andaconceptualizationofmarkets by Heyman and Ariely (2004), we can distinguish between cocreation methods in "money markets"whichrelyoneconomicexchangerelations(byofferingmonetaryincentives)and methodsin"socialmarket"thatrelyonsocialexchangerelations(byofferingnonmonetary awards): The economicexchange category consists of methods where a monetary incentive is exchangedforideasandsolutions(e.g.Terwisch/Xu2008;Jeppesen/Lakhani2010;Bou dreauetal.2011).Participantscompeteamongeachothertogetamaximumshareofa limitedaward. Thesocialexchangecategoryconsistsofmethodswhereparticipantsengageininnova tive behavior for reasons like fun or task achievement (von Hippel/von Krogh 2003, 2006), or for outcome expectations that enhance their own use experience or that of others(Harhoffetal.2003).

Combining these dimensions, the structure in Figure 1 evolves that can distinguish four methodsofcocreationintheinnovationprocess.Wewillintroducethesemethodsinmore detailinthefollowingsection,whenwediscusstheimpactofsocialmediaontheapplication ofthesemethods.Notethatintheirbasicforms,thesemethodsdonotrelyonsocialmedia butareproprietarymethodsofinnovationmanagement.

Figure1 1:Atypolog gyofcocre eationactiv ities

3Socia almediaa anditsimpactonre elationshi ipswithin cocreatiioninnew w produc ctdevelop pment


Our cen ntralassum mption is tha the rise of social media treme at m endously im mpacts the relation ship be etween cus stomers and firms as well as the relation s t nships amo ong the cu ustomers themselves. As hi ighlighted earlier, soc media has the ca e cial apability of changing market f structur resandrela ationsbetw weenmarke etactorsto alargeext tent.Onein nterestinga aspectis the cha ange in the customer e firm relatio onship due to enhanc access to informa e ced ation for bothsid des.Custom merscange etaclearer impression nonfirms activitiesan ndproductsbye.g. visiting a firm's Facebook pag but the firmin ret ge, turn gets ad dditionalva aluable info ormation aboutthevisitor's socialnetw workprofile es.Further, itisnoton nlythecust omerfirm relation, butalso ommunicat othecustom mercustom merrelation nthatisaffe ected.Custo omercanco te,share knowled dge, and fin people with simila r interests far easier. In turn, we expect that social nd w e mediau usagecould dhaveagre eatimpacto onrelationshipswithin neachmet thodofcoc creation. In the f following, w will have a closer l ook on the effect of social media on cocre we e e s a eation in bothmo onetaryexc changerelationsaswe ellasinsocialexchange erelations. Inaddition,wewill examine the impact of social media on the four co e ocreation methods diifferentiated in our typology.

3.1Soc cialmedia aimpacto onthelea aduserme ethod


Thelead duserconc ceptisame ethodtoge taccesstoneedande especiallyso olutioninfo ormation in the c concept gen neration stage of an iinnovation project. Re esearch has shown that many s commerciallyimpo ortantprodu uctsorproc cessesareinitiallythou ughtofinno ovativeuser rsrather f ures (von Hippel 1988 , 2005). Especially wh markets are fastp H hen s paced or than of manufactu turbulent,socalled dleadusersfacespec ificneedsa aheadofthegeneralm marketparticipants. Lead us sers are characterized as users w d who (1) fac needs that will be ce ecome gene in a eral

marketplacemuchearlierbeforethebulkofthatmarketplaceencountersthem;and(2)are positionedtobenefitsignificantlybyobtainingasolutionforthoseneeds(vonHippel1988). Leadusersoriginallyhavebeenseenasbeingmotivatedintrinsicallytoinnovate,performing the innovation process autonomously and without an interaction with a manufacturer. It thenisthetaskofthefirm"just"toidentifyandcapturetheresultinginventions.Inrecent years,however,aleadusermethodhasbeenestablishedthatallowsfirmstosystematically utilizetheinputofleadusersforagiveninnovationproblem(Lilienetal.2002;Thomke/von Hippel2002;Churchilletal.2009). Leaduserstraditionallyhaverelationswithbothfirmsandfellowuserswhichwerebasedon socialexchange, i.e. relations characterized by a nonmonetary character. Research has shownthatleadusersfrequentlyrevealtheirinnovativeideasfreelytowardsfirmsandother users. Theydo not want to profit from selling an innovation but fromusing a professional productproducedbythereceivingfirm(Harhoffetal.2003).Inaddition,theirrelationship to other users is social, too, due to the lack of economic interest and the lack of rivalry (Franke/Shah2003;Flleretal.2008).Thisnonrivalryhasbeenillustratedbythepatternof pyramiding (e.g. Poetz/Pruegl 2010), when lead users often recommend other lead users whotheybelievetobebettersuitedforacertainproblem. The introduction of social media may influence the lead user phenomenon within several dimensions. First, it could enhance collaboration among autonomous lead users due to informationalgainsandeasierfeedbackfromothers.Bye.g.usingYoutubevideosinorder to show the application of prototypes, lead users can improve the trial and error process duringthebuildphase.Inaddition,socialmediaenablesleaduserstoeasilyfindlikemined others who may have a piece of complementary information that is required to solve an innovation problem. As a result, lead userscould achievelarger innovation outcomes with theirownresources.Thesameeffectalsoistrueforfirmssearchingforleadusers.Profes sionalsocialnetworkslikeLinkedInorblogsprovideperfectstartingpointsforfirmssearch ingforleaduserswithspecificcharacteristics,aprocessthatinearliertimesrequiredalotof time and research like an "investigative journalist" (Churchill et al. 2009). Hence, social mediamayimprovetheperformanceofaleaduseractivity. However, the introduction of social media could also have negative consequences. In customerfirm relationships, the availability of social media could drive the likelihood of customerstobecomeentrepreneurial,sinceithelpsthemtolowerthemarketentrybarriers thatareoftenareasonforthemtojustgivetheirideatoaprofessionalfirm(Harhoffetal. 2003;Lettl/Gemnden2005).Byusingsocialmedia,leaduserscanmoreeasilytakeontasks like marketing and distribution, allowing them to skip cocreation activities with certain companies and to become entrepreneurs themselves, i.e. profiting from selling their innovation.Blogsfeaturingleadusersturnedentrepreneurshavecreatedastrongnotionof profit opportunities among participants. One could argue similar aspects for customer customerrelations,sincesocialmediacouldalsoleadtocompetitionwhenentrepreneurial users start to competing with each other. This could actually lead to tensions, since the relationdriftstoahybridbetweencollaborationandcompetition(Hutteretal.2011). We propose the following questions for further research in this field: Social media could haveapositiveimpactoncocreationwithleadusers.Furtherstudiesshouldinvestigateif

andhowsocialmediacouldenhancethemethodsfirmsuseforidentifyingleadusers.What is its impact on identifying lead users by for example pyramiding within established social networkslikeLinkedInorXing?Doesitalsoallowforamoreefficientdirectsearch?What aregoodstartingpointsforasearchinsuchanetwork?Whichoutletsandapplicationsof social media are best suited to enhance this process? At the same time, socialmedia may improvetheproblemsolvingskillsofleadusers.Howdosocialmediaimprovethetrialand errorprocessofleadusersbyfasterandbetterfeedbackfromothers?Dosocialmedialike virtualworldsevenallowtheefficientcreationandtestingofprototypes?Dosocialmedia applications create a new infrastructure that could provide lead users better access to solution information, allowing them to engage in larger and more complex tasks? Is there roomandneedfornewsocialmediaapplications,e.g.socialtoolkits,whichcouldenhance suchanactivity? Atthesametime,theapplicationsofsocialmediaalsomayhaveanegativeeffect(froma firm perspective). Social media may signal lead users the potential commercial benefit of theirinventions,henceloweringtheirwillingnesstofreelyrevealtheirinvention.Doesthe introduction of social media lower cocreation willingness due to higher probability of entrepreneurialactivities?Dosocialmediaalsolowertheinteractionbetweenleadusesas theyperceiveakindofcompetitionamongthemselves?Socialmediaalsoallowstheeasier identification of lead users. Hence, the exclusivity of access to a specific lead user may be muchmoredifficulttoachieveforafirmwhenalsoitscompetitorscanrealizealeaduser search more easily. The ability to perform cocreation with lead user may turn from a competitive advantage to a commodity, i.e. a common practice shared in one industry. Wouldsuchadevelopmentalsomotivateleadusersto askforahighmonetaryawardfor theircontribution,turningthemintoatechnicalconsultant?

3.2Socialmediaimpactontoolkitsforcustomercodesign
A very different method of cocreation is toolkits for customer codesign (von Hippel/Katz 2002; Franke/Piller 2003). The primary goal of toolkits is to access need information in a moreefficientmannerthanpossiblethroughtraditionalmeans.Theyalsoaimatinteracting with a large number of customers which often are "average" customers without lead user characteristics. A toolkit provides a development environment that enables customers to transfer their needs iteratively into a concrete solution. Following Franke and Schreier (2002), we distinguish two types of toolkits according to the degrees of freedom that the underlying solution space provides to customers: (1) toolkits for user innovation and (2) toolkitsforusercodesignandcustomization. (1)Toolkitsforuserinnovationresemble,inprinciple,achemistryset.Theirsolutionspace or, at least some of the products design parameters, is boundless. Toolkit users not only combinethemanufacturersstandardmodulesandcomponentstocreatethebestpossible productforthemselves,buttheyalsoexpendatremendousamountofeffortinexperiment ing through trial and error processes on new and up to now, unknown solutions for their needs. The manufacturers toolkit provides the necessary solution information in the form of,forexample,programminglanguagesordrawingsoftware.Agoodexamplecomesfrom

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the semiconductor industry where firms equipped customers with toolkits for custom developmentofintegratedcircuitsandcomputerchips(vonHippel/Katz2002). (2) On the other hand, toolkits for user codesign and customization are used for product individualization and adoption, rather than developing new goods and services. It can be comparedtoasetofLegobricks.Toolkitsforusercodesignofferusersmoreorlessalarge choice of individual building blocks (modules, components, parameters), which can be configured to make a product according to the users individual requirements. Therefore, thetoolkitssolutionspaceislimitedandcanbemodifiedonlyaccordingtoitspredefined building blocks. These building blocks lie within the range of a manufacturers economic and technological capability (Franke et al. 2010; Franke/Schreier 2010). Wellknown exam ples of these types of toolkits are Dells product configurator and configurators found, for example, in the automobile industry. Another example is LEGO DesignByMe, an advanced toolkitforuserinnovationtargetingthechildrenmarket. While toolkits have been solely implemented in commercial markets, and are costly to develop,theinteractionwithcustomersonthesetoolkitsaretraditionallynotcharacterized bymonetaryrelations,butratherbysocialexchange.Usersoftoolkits,especiallyinbusiness toconsumermarkets,havebeenshowntoenjoythetoolkitusage(Franke/Piller2004;Ihlet al.2006;Franke/Schreier2010;Merleetal.2010).Productcodesignsbycustomersmayalso providesymbolic(intrinsicandsocial)benefits,resultingfromtheactualprocessofcodesign rather than its outcome. Schreier (2006) quotes, for example, a prideofauthorship effect. Customersmaycocreatesomethingbythemselves,whichmayaddvalueduetothesheer enthusiasm about the result. This effect relates to the desire for uniqueness, as discussed before,buthereitisbasedonauniquetaskandnottheoutcome.Inadditiontoenjoyment, task accomplishment has a senseof creativity. Participating in a codesign process may be consideredahighlycreativeproblemsolvingprocessbytheindividualsengagedinthistask (Ihletal.2006). Social media can enhance customer codesign and may overcome some of its barriers. Earlierliteraturehasshownthatwhenacustomerisexposedtomyriadchoices,thecostof evaluating those options can easily outweigh the additional benefit from having so many alternatives. The resulting syndrome has been called the paradox of choice, (Schwartz 2004)inwhichtoomanyoptionscanactuallyreducecustomervalueinsteadofincreasingit (Huffman/Kahn1998).Insuchsituations,customersmightpostponetheirbuyingdecisions and, worse, classify the vendor as difficult and undesirable (Dellaert/Stremersch 2005). Supplementing a toolkit with social media functionality may help. Piller et al. (2005) and Franke et al. (2008) have shown that communities can supplement toolkits. Social media allowtoeasilyshareauserdesignwithpeersandtogetfeedback.Also,usercommunities allow the publications of user generated design, hence providing inspiration and examples foranowndesign.Finally,socialnetworkingallowstheintegrationofapeerintotheactual codesign process, providing guidance and instant feedback. Using these social media applicationsmayreducethehighcostofcustomerservicethatoftencompaniesarerequired toinvesttosupportcustomersincodesigntoolkits.Alltheserelationsarecharacterizedby strongsocialexchange.

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But at the same time, social media also could turn social relations more into "money markets", relying on economic exchange. A few websites that offer codesign toolkits actually have started to implement functionality for users to sell their creations to others. Examples include Zazzle, Spreadshirt, of Cafepress. On these websites, users can create a customizedassortmentofitemsandopenasmallonlinestoretoselltheircreationstotheir peers and any other consumer. Social media allows users to link their creations easily to their network sites or post tweets about new creations, hence soliciting a commercial transaction within a previously private (social) context. For the manufacturer, this offers accesstoentirelynewmicromarketsthatarecreatedbytheirownusers. There are plenty of opportunities for further research to investigate the impact of this development. What are efficient design features of toolkits that allow manufacturers to profit from relationships among their customers based on social media? How does the implementationofsocialmediaandsocialcommercefunctionalityaffectcustomerbehavior incodesigntoolkits?Howisthecreationofhedonicvalueandprocesssatisfactiondifferent intoolkitsthatareenhancedbystrongsocialmediafeaturestotraditionaltoolkitsthatbuild ona1:1relationbetweenthecompanyandthecustomer?Howdoconsumersutilizesocial mediawhenbecomingmicroentrepreneurs,sellingtheircreationsinatoolkitamongtheir peers? What are the incentive structures of these "customer entrepreneurs"? What are characteristics of commercially successful consumers that outperform other customers on thesamecodesigntoolkit?

3.3Socialmediaimpactonsolutioncontests(broadcastsearch)
Inmanystudies,innovationperformancehasbeenshowntobedependentontheabilityof anorganizationtogetaccesstonewknowledgesourcesandtoconnectthosewithprevious knowledgeinaninnovativeway(Mansfield1986).Acoreactivitytoachievethisgoalisto establishbroadnetworkswithexternalentities.Thisexactprocessisfacilitatedbyanopen innovationapproachcalledbroadcastsearch,akindofinnovationcontest(Jeppesen/Lakhani 2010). In an innovation contest, a company ("seeker") calls on its customers, users, or experts in the general public for a solution on a given technical challenge. This problem statementis"broadcasted"toalargeopennetworkinformofanopencallwitharequest for proposals (solutions). Submissions by "solvers" are evaluated by a committee or inter mediary with help of a performance scale, and the best solution is awarded either with a fixed award, a licensing contract for the technical innovation, or a developing contract (Reichwald/Piller2009). Broadcastsearchhastobeshowntobeahighlyefficientwaytoperformtechnicalproblem solving(Jeppesen/Lakhani2010).Firstly,theopencallforsolutionsenablesaselfselection by potential solvers from any field. Often, the general class of the problem is known in differentdomains.Acompany,however,usuallyonlylooksforthe"usualsuspects"withinits ownnetwork,biasedbytheseeker'sownassumptionaboutthecharacterofthesolution.In broadcastsearch,therequirementofdefiningtheneedinageneralproblemstatementand the open request for proposals transmits the problem to representatives from often very differentdomainswithadifferentleveloffocus.Secondly,establishedintermediarieslike

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NineSigma or Innocentive have a number of search specialists who use broad, unbiased search mechanisms to find potential solution providers around the world. The result is a muchlargerbaseofinformationthatcanbeutilizedfortheinnovationprocess.Inaconven tionally"closed"systemofinnovation,onlyinformationaboutsolutionsthatisinthedomain ofthefirmcanbeusedascreativeinputfortheinnovationprocess,aproblemthathasbeen calledthe"localsearchbias"(Stuart/Podolny1996).Inaninnovationsystemmoreopento external input, this knowledge stock is extended by the large base of information about needs, applications, and solution technologies that resides in the domain of customers, users,suppliers,experts,universities,andotherexternalparties.Thus,justbyincreasingthe potentialpoolofinformation,betterresultsarebecomepossible. Broadcasting innovation problems to external participants in form of a "request for pro posals"canclearlyberecognizedasaneconomicexchangerelation,bothfromtheperspec tive of the firmcustomer as well as the customercustomer relationships. On a first view, social media applications enhance the competition among participants as they allow the efficientbroadcasttoevenahighernumberofsolvers,henceenlargingthefieldofcompeti tion, but also the potential quality of solvers. However, the introduction of social media could also alter these relations. First, it could change the customercustomer relationship drastically.Today,solverstypicallydonotknoweachother.Knowingeachotherhoweveris a perquisite for engaging in collaboration between solvers. With the application of social mediatoconnectproblemsandpotentialsolversopenly,collaborationamongsolverscould foster individual problem solving performance, since potential solvers could support each otherinasimilarwayasopensourcesoftwarecommunitiesdo(Lakhani/vonHippel2003). Contrarytothis,however,arecentstudyofBoudreauetal.(2011)showsthatincreasingthe number of solvers reduces the individual effort invested, thus influencing the customer customer relationship negatively. However, this counts only for conditions of competition (asitcurrentlyispredominantintechnicalproblemsolving)whichgoeshandinhandwith theeconomicexchangerelationbetweenallactors.Thusitcouldbeinterestingtoseeifthis effect is similar for collaboration, which could change the participantparticipant relation intoamoresocialform. Forcompaniesseekingsolutions,collaborationamongsolversfacilitatedbysocialmediaalso couldbebeneficial,sincetheycouldbenefitfromcollaborativespillovereffectsamongthe solvers. Actually InnoCentive, one major provider of technical problem solving services, startedtoincorporatecollaborativetoolsintheirserviceoffering,likeforexampleInnocen tive@work.Althoughthisserviceisfocusingonsolverswithinonespecificcompany,italso couldbevaluabletoexamineif,andforwhichkindofchallenges,thecollaborativefeatures enhancetheefficiencyoftheproblemsolvingprocess(e.g.shorteningtime)orenhancethe achievedoutput(e.g.solvingmoreproblemsorsolvingproblemsbetter). Ontheotherhand,theintroductionofsocialmediaisalsoassociatedwithseveralrisksfor seekers. For many service providers offering broadcast search, their solver community is a key asset. If the members of the community become more visible through usage of social media(e.g.byusingaFacebookgroup),itcouldactuallyharmtheintermediaries'business model,sincethesolvercommunitycouldbeaddressedbysolutionseekersdirectlywithout theintermediary.Thisdisruptivedisadvantagefromtheintermediary'sperspectivehowever

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could become a benefit for the focal company as it would not need to pay a fee to the intermediaryforitsservices. Wrappingthisup,anumberofinterestingresearchquestionsderivefromtheintegrationof socialmediainthefieldofcocreationviabroadcastsearch:Howdoestheusageofsocial media enhance the ability of a given network of potential solvers to generate a solution? Whendosolversusesocialnetworkingtoinformtheirpeersaboutanopenproblem?What incentivescanmotivatesuchabehavior?Cansocialmediaalsoinducecollaborationamong solvers and thus enhance the technical problem solving capacity of a network? Are there specifickindsofchallengesthatbenefitmorefromcollaborationthanothers?Howissuch collaborationinfluencingthecompetitivenaturethatischaracterizinganinnovationcontest conventionally? Do social media applications enforce competition among solvers and thus lead to a decrease in the effort invested by an individual solver? Does the introduction of socialmediaunderminethebusinessmodelofintermediariesoperatinginnovationcontests, sinceitallowsseekertogetincontactwithsolversdirectly?Andwhataretheimplications forintellectualproperty(IP)arrangementslikepatentsorlicensingcontractswhenmultiple solverscontributetooneproblemsolution?Doestheuseofsocialmediahenceimplythe creationof"socialIP"?

3.4Socialmediaimpactonideationcontests
Afinalmethodofcocreationalsotakestheformofaninnovationcontest,butoneforideas andnotfortechnicalsolutions.Ideationcontestswanttogeneratenovelconceptsandideas (Piller/Walcher2006;Ebneretal.2009;Bullingeretal.2010).Inanideationcontest,afirm seeking innovationrelated information posts a request to a population of independent, competing agents (e.g. customers), asking for solutions to a given task within a given timeframe. The firm then provides an award to the participants that generate the best solutions. A solution reward is important in the early stages of an innovation process because at this stage customers are unlikely to benefit directly from their contributions throughnewproductavailabilitywithinashorttimeframe. Some companies promise cash rewards or licensing contracts for innovative ideas, others buildonnonmonetaryacknowledgmentspromisingpeerorcompany(brand)recognition thatfacilitatesaprideofauthorshipeffect.Obviously,rewardsorrecognitionsarenotgiven toeveryonesubmittinganidea,butonlytothosewiththe"best"submissions.Thiscompeti tive mechanism is an explicit strategy to foster customer innovation. It should encourage more or better customers to participate, should inspire their creativity, and increase the qualityofthesubmissions.Forinstance,over120,000individualsaroundtheworldservedas voluntarymembersofBoeingsWorldDesignTeam,contributinginputtothedesignofits new 787 Dreamliner airplane (www.newairplane.com). Today we find a broad range of ideationcontestsinpractice.Agoodstartingpointtoexplorethisfieldiswww.innovation community.de, a site listing more than 80 ideation contests. These can be differentiated according to the degree of problem specification, i.e. does the problem clearly specify the requirementsforthesoughtsolutionorisitmoreorlessanopencallforinputtoavaguely specifiedproblem.

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Similar to broadcast search, ideation contests can be characterized as economicexchange relationship due to their extrinsic incentive mechanism and competitive character (Piller/Walcher2006).Infact,mostpriorresearchonideationcontestshighlightedtheutter impactofmonetaryrewardsasareasonforcustomerparticipation(Fller2010).However, in contrast to technical problem solving contests, awards in ideation contests tend to be significantlylowerandparticipantshavetocompeteagainstmanymoreothersinorderto win them. This indicates that other motives apart from strictly rational reasons influence participantsintheirbehavior.Thiscountsespeciallyforthecustomerfirmrelationship,since economictheoryfailstoexplainwhyparticipantsinvesttimeandeffortwhentheirexpected monetaryoutcomefromdoingsoisrelativelylow. In addition, in many ideation contests, customercustomer relationships are clearly more socialthanfortechnicalproblemsolving,althoughparticipantsarestillcompetitors.Inmany ideation contests, participants see each other and each other's ideas, provide comments, evaluations,andfeedbackonideas,orevenversionateexistingideashencetheyengagein collaborativeactivities.ProvidersofideationcontestslikeMunichbasedHyveorParisbased eYekahaverecentlyintegratedanentirerangecollaborationfeaturestoenableandfurther encourage this behavior. They even have started to incentivize social relationships by monetary awards in form of a "most active participant" or "most active commentator" award.Thisopensmanyinterestingquestionsforfutureresearchinthefieldofthesehybrid incentivestructuresthatintuitivelycontradicteachother. Recentresearchonthisissuehasfoundthatideacontestsworkbestwitheitherparticipants with very high cooperative orientation or with those with a very low one (Bullinger et al. 2010; Hutter et al. 2011). This ambiguity becomes especially relevant when introducing additional social media aspects. However, the introduction of social media on customer customerrelationshipaswellascustomerfirmrelationshipcouldhavesimilareffectsasin technical problem solving, since for both segments it enables or enhances collaboration. Social media could also be beneficial for the firmcustomer relationship, since customers motivation could be fostered by the recognition of the firm. Also, social media usage (like e.g. creating an exclusive Facebook group with specific events) could have effects on customerssimilartoempowermentstrategiesintermsofhigherproductdemand(Fuchset al.2010)andahigherbrandattachment(Fuchs/Schreier2011). Again, there also may be possible downsides of the introduction of social media. As high lighted above, monetary incentives are not the sole driver of participation (Fller 2010). Nonmonetary incentives of participants could be fostered by the introduction of social media.Whilethissoundsbeneficialonthefirstglimpse,italsocouldbearsomerisks;sinceit could happen that the host loses control of the initiative. Customers could use the co creationmethodtodiscusstopicstheyfavorandnotactinthebestinterestofthehost.If the host tries to govern the topics of the contest against the will of the customers, they couldactuallyleavethecontestandswitchtosocialmediaoffersandcontinuetheircreative effort there, which leaves the host with fewer participants. Also, there have been recent examples where participants used social media to intentionally interfere with an ideation contestbypostingdestructivecontributions(asrecentexamplesofideacontestshostedby HenkelorOttoGrouphavedemonstrated).

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Concluding, we propose the following research questions that may be helpful to further study the role of social media for ideation contests. Can social media applications induce more favorable corporate attitudes and thus enhance the participation effort of partici pants?Howdosocialmediainfluencethedifferentmotivesforparticipationinanideation contests that lead to superior results for the host in terms of more or better ideas? Can economic incentives successful foster engagement in socialexchange relationships? Does theintroductionofsocialmedialowerthedegreeofcontrolthehosthasconcerningtopics of the ideation contests? Do social media applications foster a "hacking" of contests and theirusefordestructivebehaviorofparticipants?Canfirmsthemselvesusesocialmediato preventorcounterbalancesuchbehavior?

4Conclusionsandoutlook
In this paper, we have provided a conceptual, theoretical based model for the impact of socialmediaininnovationprocessesbasedoncustomercocreation.Aswehaveseen,social mediamayenhancetheeffectivenessandtheefficiencyofcocreationbyloweringthecost of interaction among participants and by allowing a larger number of participants to contribute to a particular cocreation initiative, hence enhancing the heterogeneity of knowledge stocks in the participant community a core factor of success in innovation management(Laursen/Salter2006). Butwealsohaveshownthatsocialmediamaychangethecharacterofcocreationapplica tions. Figure 2 summarizes our argumentation. For forms of cocreation that used to be characterized by socialexchange, like the leaduser method, social media mayintroduce a strongeremphasisofmonetaryexchangerelations.TheU.S.companyQuirkyisaparticular example of such a development. Quirky has made the transfer from lead user ideas into actual products the core of its business model. It actually created a market place for lead user ideas. It is entirely based on social media, hence turning product development into social product development (Piller 2010). These products include electronic gadgets, travel goods, and household items. Quirky engages its community in activities along the entire span of the innovation process, including its financing. A project starts when a lead user suggests a new product idea. The Quirky community then votes on the ideas that should enterthenextstageofdevelopment,whereideasarejointlyturnedintoamoredeveloped productbythecommunityandbyQuirky'sowndevelopers.Thisdevelopmentisfollowedby anotherevaluation.Ifpassed,thestaffworkswithmanufacturersandsupplierstospecifya price,andtheconceptisoutforcommunityfinancing.Iftheproductreceivesenoughonline preorders,itgoesintoproduction(Theprocessisoutlinedathttp://www.quirky.com/learn). Quirkycurrentlyisoneofthebestexamplesofcocreationinafirmorganizedcommunity. The site provides a platform for products originating from deep user insights, offering anyone the opportunity of turning ideas into real products at low cost. Also, an inventor whoseideadoesnotmakeittoafinalstagegetsplentyoffeedbackfromothersontheidea. However, Quirky motivates its community not by intrinsic incentives, but predominantly uses monetary relations. It has created a pure "money market" for community based innovation. About 30 percent of the gross sales revenues of each product are distributed

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among the participants. Acco ording to it founder, the core challenge w ts c when launch hing the compan nywasdeve elopingana algorithmth hatprovidesafairdistr ributionof3 30%ofallrevenues tothec communitymembersw whocontrib butedtoap particularpr roject(Piller r2010).Ina average, 800120 00contribu utorsarepa aidperprod duct.Paymentsareop penlyrevea aledonthe website for each product a contributor, hence creating monetary rankings of participant While h and e m ts. suchalargescalec contributionschemes tillisveryr rare,itcould dbecomea arolemode elforthe tioneconom my.Socialm mediahere ehaschangedoriginall lysocialrellationsinto money cocreat relation ns.

Figure2 2:Impactof fsocialmed diaonmark ketrelation nshipsofco ocreation Anotherexampleo ofturningc cocreation modelsbas sedoneconomicexch hangerelationsinto socialexchange re elations ar more "s re sociallyfocused" idea contests, like for example a e Scraplab (http://w b www.scrapla ab.org) whiich aims at developing concepts on how to foster t s t ecologic cproductdevelopmen nt.Nexttot this,morea andmorego overnmenta alorganizat tionsare using th "citizen to cocr heir ns" reate certa in tasks and decisions also relyiing deeply on their s, ratherthan willingn nesstoenga ageinsocia alrelationsr nineconom micones.Th hesehostsu usetheir nonpro ofitcharacte ertotrigge ermoresoc cialexchang gebehavior r,hopingfo orlargerparticipant number rsatalowc costofhostingandorg ganizingthecocreation nactivity. Beyond the applic cation of so ocial media for cocreation, also the differe method of co ent ds creation npersestillofferplent tyofoppor rtunitiesfor rfurtherres search(Pille eretal.201 11).First, firms need inform mation and better gui dance on how to ass h sess if thei r organizat tion and branchissuitedforcustomercocreation n.Thisinfor rmationiscrucialinord dertobuild dspecific compet tences that aid firms at identifyiing opportu unities and ultimately at using the right y t method d.Managers sneedacle earpicture oftheirow wnorganizat tionalsettin ngsandcap pabilities before being able to answer important questions during the implement ation of on own d nes erintegrationinitiative e.Thiscoulldincludea answerstoquestionsliikehowdo oinnova custome tion pro ojects have to be reorganized, which kinds of proje e ects are su uited for customer integrat tionandho owdothein nternaldev elopmentp processeshavetobea adjustedinorderto allowop ptimalcusto omercocre eation.

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Secondly, previous research focused on showing the application of customer cocreation, mostlyintermsofsuccessfulexamples.Theseexamplesarevaluableforcreatingevidence andgeneratingattentionforthephenomena,butoftenlackadifferentiatedperspectiveon thechosencocreationmethod.Tobringthediscussiononmethodstothenextlevel,more researchonspecificdesigncomponentsofthesemethodsaremandatoryinordertoprovide information how the method is used in the best way. For example, while the motives of customersparticipatinginfirmhostedcocreationactivitieshaverecentlybeensubjectfora considerable extent of research (see e.g. Fller et al. 2008; Fller 2010), the ways how to designaspecificmethodremainrelativelyvague.Futurecontributionstotheseaspectsneed togiveananswertoquestionslikehowtodesignthemethodsinordertoattractthedesired participantsortoevokethepreferredbehavior.Futureresearchalsohastoinvestigatehow afirmcaninfluencetheoutputoftheopeninnovationactivitiesbyadjustingthesespecific designfactors. Finally,researchisneededonthelongtermeffectsofcustomercocreationoncompetition. Today,cocreationwithcustomersisbooming.Thenumberoffirmsandevengovernments implementing cocreation is steadily growing. This growth in numbers generates lots of opportunitiesforresearcherstoacquireempiricaldatafromtheseactivities,whichmaybe usedtoanswersomeofthequestionsproposedabove.Butthisgrowthalsohasitsdown sides.Withmoreandmorefirmshostingcocreationactivities,innovativecustomerscould becomeascarcegood,forwhichcompanieshavetocompeteforinordertogettheminto theiractivities.Aswehaveargued,socialmediaapplicationsmayfosterthisdevelopment further. Ultimately, this could result in a shortage of the former infinite resource, the customer crowd, adding a new facet to firms' competition among customers. Modeling the effect of customer cocreation and the scare resource of "innovative users" could become a fascinating field for future research in economics, strategy, and social media research.

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