Getting Customers’ Motives: Lean on Motivation Theory for Designing Virtual Ideas Communities

  • Ulrich Bretschneider
  • Jan Marco Leimeister
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 366)


Virtual ideas communities such as Dell’s “Ideastorm” or Intel’s “Ideazone” are very popular in practice. In such communities distributed groups of individual customers focus on voluntarily sharing and elaborating innovative ideas to support company’s new products development. However, a look at existing ideas community leads to the conclusion that many of them are featured to the minimum necessary. Typically, they fail to provide technical components and organizational arrangements that are able to motivate customers to submit ideas. Based on insights from motivation theory it is known that such components and arrangements could serve as incentives for submitting ideas, as they activate customers’ corresponding motives, which again lead to idea submission. In reverse, this means when knowing customers different motives one can systematically derive adequate components and arrangements from it. The aim of this paper is to derive components from customers’ motives. Our research approach is two-folded. First, we applied an online survey among participants of the SAPiens ideas community. We empirically queried motives that lead participants to submit ideas. After that we come up with an empirical tested set of six motives (self-marketing, fun, altruism, recognition, product improvement and enhancement as well as learning). Second, we used these six motives in order to derive a set of adequate components from it. Our research will deliver important examples and insights how to arrange virtual ideas communities with technical and organizational components and arrangements in order to make them more effective, so that more customers are willing to submit ideas.


virtual ideas communities open innovation user motivation customer integration motives 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Bretschneider
    • 1
  • Jan Marco Leimeister
    • 1
  1. 1.Chair for Information SystemsKassel UniversityKasselGermany

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