Social Innovation: When Social Media and Product Innovation Collide

5 Things You Should Know to Get In Front of the Social Innovation Curve Once thought only for consumers markets, we’ve watched social media infiltrate the enterprise – primarily in marketing, customer support, and human resource organizations.  No longer on the “ends” of product delivery, social methodology is making its way throughout the entire product innovation process.

Whether the focus of your innovation process is internal or external, social methodologies are changing the way companies define & create products.

If you want to get in front of the Social Innovation curve, here are 5 things you need to know that will help your company get started, and then stay in front of the competition:

  1. Implement “Social” Product Features:  Social technology can be integrated into the product’s feature set.  For example, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) can be implemented in a software application enabling a company to have a nearly real time interaction with its users.
  2. Use Multimedia as the Virtual Voice of the Customer: When product definition and usability are critical, request customers to provide photographs or videos of how the product will be used.  Then, allow this user generated content to strongly influence decision-making.   It will result in accelerated time to market, and reduced development costs.
  3. Don’t Waste R&D Dollars to Build Customized Social Platforms: Use of out of-the-box platforms like BrightIdea, Spigit, or Communispace allow organizations to quickly create and organize communities.
  4. A Few Dedicated Resources Will Help Accelerate Adoption and Improve the Quality of the Data: Centers of Excellence and dedicated resources are critical for the success in large-scale adoption.   These resources ensure the balance of commonality & customization where there exists multiple social innovation campaigns.  Even in small companies, dedicated resources are a good investment – they ensure that campaigns are focused, and data is managed.
  5. Quality Trumps Quantity – For Data & Participants: One clear best practice in companies that manage large social innovation communities is investing in technology that tracks not only the quality of the input, but also the qualifications of  the participants.   The identification of subject matter experts within a community enables utilization of the best expertise, and increases the quality of innovation.

If you’re not using social methodologies to drive product innovation, chances are you will be soon.   The mistakes can be costly, but following best practices can minimize your risk, and help keep you in front of the social innovation curve.