user communities

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Image courtesy of Ultimaker.

Innovation Lessons From 3-D Printing

3-D printing is the printing of solid, physical 3-D objects. “Just as the Web democratized innovation in bits, a new class of ‘rapid prototyping’ technologies…is democratizing innovation in atoms,” Wired magazine’s longtime editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson, stated in Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. Indeed, open-source 3-D printing fits in with the general trend of open-source innovation by collaborative online communities. The big question: How should existing companies respond?

Image courtesy of bylisataylor.com.

Collaborating With Customer Communities: Lessons From the Lego Group

Customer-oriented companies pride themselves on understanding the marketplace and integrating the best ideas into future products. But what would it be like if you found that you had hundreds, if not thousands, of knowledgeable users ready and eager to spend nights and weekends acting as extensions of your research and development department? For the Lego Group, the Danish maker of children’s creative construction toys, this close bond with the user community is not a pipe dream but a reality.

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Do-It-Yourself Brand Creation

Strong brands are often seen as an important corporate asset. But what happens when user communities—connected by the Internet—start to create their own brands? That question was explored in an intriguing August 2008 working paper, “Costless Creation of Strong Brands by User Communities: Implications for Producer-Owned Brands.” The paper suggests that companies with traditional brands would be wise to pay attention to this emerging arena.

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Do-it-yourself brand creation

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What if user communities create their own brands?  That question is explored in an intriguing recent working paper by Johann Füller and Eric von Hippel, an open innovation expert at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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