1. Project goal
A large number of studies show that consumer integration not only minimizes the risk of new product failure, but also improves financial success and increases customer satisfaction. However, recent studies suggest that the effectiveness of customer integration in new product development may depend on the type of integrated customer (in terms of their personality traits). However, empirical evidence on whether integrating certain types of customers is more effective in supporting new product development than others is still lacking. Similarly, no prior research has examined whether combining different customer types might be even better and more effective in new product development than focusing on just one type. Moreover, the differences in the effectiveness of integrating different customer types both at different stages of the new product development process and under different environmental conditions (market turbulence vs. technological turbulence) have not yet been studied.
To address the above research gaps, the overarching goal of this research project is to expand the understanding of customer integration as an important tool for enhancing business success in the development and offering of new products.
2. Research questions
- Which customer type is most effective for sole integration as part of new product development?
- What combination of customer types is most effective in developing and modifying new products?
- Which customer types are best suited for integration into the (1) ideation, (2) development, and (3) deployment phases of the new product development process?
- What type of customer is best suited for customer integration in an environment of market turbulence and in a technologically turbulent environment?
Work package 1
Work package 1 aims to find out which customer types (Lead User, Emergent Nature Consumer, Passive Resistors) are particularly effective for sole customer integration in new product development. In addition, this work package will determine whether there is a paired combination of specific customer types that is even more effective for customer integration in new product development than the sole integration of a single type. For this purpose, students who could be assigned to the relevant customer types in advance with the help of a survey are recruited and asked to develop a concept for an innovative product. In a next step, the designed concepts are modified by the students. Finally, the concepts and concept modifications are evaluated with the help of a consumer panel. To increase external validity, the described procedure is then replicated with the help of an idea competition in order to reflect conditions that are as close to reality as possible. Once again, the concepts and concept modifications developed in the ideas competition are evaluated by a consumer panel.
Work package 2
The goal of the second work package is to identify the customer types (Lead User, Emergent Nature Consumer, Passive Resistors) that produce the best solutions in each phase of the new product development process (ideation, development, deployment). First, students who can be assigned to the relevant customer types are asked to (1) create an innovative idea for a product (idea generation phase), (2) develop an innovative concept for a product (development phase), and (3) modify an innovative product that has already been introduced to the market (deployment phase). This is followed by the consumer-side evaluation of the ideas, concepts and modifications created. As already described under work package 1, this procedure is replicated by means of an idea competition.
Work package 3
The third work package will identify which customer types are best suited for integration in the development of new products when market turbulence or technological turbulence prevails. First, with the help of innovation and industry experts, products subject to the aforementioned turbulence will be identified. Again, students who can be assigned to the respective customer types are asked to develop two innovative product concepts (one concept per turbulence type), which are then evaluated by a consumer panel. This work package also involves replicating the survey by running an ideas competition.