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Exploring the nature and implementation process of IT-based user-centric business models

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Recent advances in information and communication technologies have allowed companies to interact with external stakeholders, especially users, in a very efficient and effective way. As a result, more and more companies are striving to take advantage of these new opportunities and to harness the creative potential of their users by integrating them into core business processes. Successful companies like Threadless or Dell, which were designed to allow user innovation and co-creation from the outset, clearly demonstrate the potential value of such approaches. However, the introduction of user-centric value creation processes at established companies is a rather complex task, as it requires major adaptations to traditional manufacturer-centered business models. At present, little is known about how established companies can successfully implement user-centric business models. In this paper, we therefore explore (1) the success factors for attracting and engaging users in core business processes, and (2) effective strategies to overcome internal resistance when established companies introduce user-centric business models. We apply a multi-case comparison methodology between three well-known companies (LEGO, IBM and Coloplast) which have successfully integrated users into their core business processes. We find that the successful implementation of user-centric business models requires a comprehensive approach encompassing not only an appropriate social softwaredesign, but also a transparent intellectual property policy, proper incentive systems, evolutional learning and nurturing as well as employee empowerment. (author's abstract)

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Christoph Hienerth, Peter Keinz, Christopher Lettl

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