Electronic Commerce Research

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 57–73 | Cite as

Community based innovation: How to integrate members of virtual communities into new product development

  • Johann FüllerEmail author
  • Michael Bartl
  • Holger Ernst
  • Hans Mühlbacher


Online consumer groups represent a large pool of product know-how. Hence, they seem to be a promising source of innovation. At present, except for open source software, little is known about how to utilize this know-how for new product development. In this article we explore if and how members of virtual communities can be integrated into new product development. We explain how to identify and access online communities and how to interact with its members in order to get valuable input for new product development. This approach we term “Community Based Innovation.” The Audi case illustrates the applicability of the method and underscores the innovative capability of consumers encountered in virtual communities.


Online communities User innovations New product development Virtual customer integration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johann Füller
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Bartl
    • 2
  • Holger Ernst
    • 3
  • Hans Mühlbacher
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Value-Process Management, Marketing GroupUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Technology and Innovation ManagementOtto Beisheim Graduate School of Management (WHU)Germany
  3. 3.Technology and Innovation ManagementOtto Beisheim Graduate School of Management (WHU)Germany
  4. 4.Department of Value-Process Management, Marketing GroupUniversity of InnsbruckAustria

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