IMI - Innovation Management Institute

The role of users and customers in digital innovation: Insights from B2B manufacturing firms

Authors Abrell Thomas
Pihlajamaa Matti
Kanto Laura
vom Brocke Jan
Uebernickel Falk
Type Article / Journal / Book
Release date March 27, 2016
Publisher Information & Management, Vol. 53, Issue 3, pp. 324-335


Diffusion of digital technologies into the manufacturing industry has created new opportunities for innovation that firms must address to remain competitive. We investigate the role of customer and user knowledge in the digital innovation processes of three global B2B manufacturing companies. We find that the B2B manufacturing industry's characteristics influence how users and customers may be leveraged. Customers making the purchasing decisions are considered for knowledge about short-term changes in market needs, while users working directly with the products provide long-term guidance for digital innovation. We identify practices for acquiring, distributing, and using customer and user knowledge for digital innovation.

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