Users' motivations in innovation communities

Users contributions in innovation communities can be valuable to organizations. Example innovation communities are brand communities where members are motivated to contribute ideas (such as the spotify community), beta testing communities (such as Nokia beta labs), or innovation intermediaries (third party innovation community hosts, such as Botnia Living Lab).

But what motivates users to make contributions in innovation communities? Anna Ståhlbröst and Birgitta Bergvall-Kareborn have explored this question within the SociaLL project. They have collected data from more than 2000 participants in the Botnia Living Lab on who they are and what makes them contribute.

When classifying the responding users, they found that the largest group of participants were technology enthusiasts responding that “as soon as a new product or service is available at the
market, I want to start using it”. However, also regular utility users of technology also was a large group – more than one third of the respondents.

The user participants were found to be particularly motivated by their wish to learn something new, their curiosity, and their wish to try out new technology. Learning was seen as important to virtually all the respondents, and seen as “very important” by more than 70 percent.

The majority also reported to be highly motivated by the opportunity to win something, but as much as one fifth stated that this was not an important motivational factor. Getting to know other people and social belonging was not important to the vast majority of the respondents.

One lesson learnt is that economical rewards – such as a ticket in a lottery – may be a useful motivator, but that providing the users an opportunity to learn something new is even more important.

Read the whole paper (post-acceptance version, publised in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management)

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