E.Viardot, Ph. D
Professor of Corporate Strategy and Marketing and Director of Innovation Centre at EADA
In recent years, the phenomenon of creative consumers has attracted much research interest. Last year, approximately 70 articles in business publications referred specifically to the concept of creative consumers.
Creative consumers are individual users or groups of individual users, who adapt, modify and transform existing products and services. As a phenomenon they have always existed, but the interest in their activities and outputs has grown so much, that they are now regarded to be an important issue within the marketing and innovation fields.
The International Journal of Technology Marketing (IJTMKT) has just published a Special Issue dedicated specifically to “User innovation and the role of creative consumers“, under the direction of Professor Ian McCarthy, a leading specialist in Innovation Management and Marketing from the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. You will find the details at:
The first article “Lead users, suppliers, and experts: The exploration and exploitation trade-off in product development” focuses on one specific type of creative consumer, the lead user. The authors, Tsinopoulos and Al-Zu’bi, develop a framework that explains how firms collaborate with this type of creative consumer versus collaborations with key suppliers and product experts. They provide an interesting and useful characterization of the different collaboration modes that help us to understand how different types of innovation are produced.
Robson and Plangger’s article “Consumer Creativity and the World’s Biggest Brand” presents an interesting analysis of how consumers have used the Coke beverage in ways that go way beyond simply drinking the product. For example, it has been used by consumers to remove grease stains from clothing, to treat jelly fish stings, and applied as a mosquito repellant. From this analysis a model of four types of consumer creativity is developed. The model can be used to understand how each type of creative consumer presents a unique set of risks and opportunities for brands and firms.
The next article “On Becoming Creative Consumers – User Roles in Living Labs Networks” explore how creative consumers innovate in networks. Leminen, Westerlund and Nyström propose a typology of creative consumer roles in living laboratory networks and outline how the characteristics of these roles would impact how companies engage with and learn from creative consumers.
Lee’s article “Advice from Creative Consumers: A Study of Online Hotel Reviews” examines the online reviews of hotels that creative consumers produce. This specific user innovation activity embraces the phenomenon of consumer generated content and electronic word of mouth (eWOM). The research outlines how consumers no longer passively consume hotel services, but increasingly reflect on their experience and produce and publish reviews. These reviews are both an innovation process and innovation outcome. Using a sample of these reviews the author analyses how creative consumers perceive and articulate their experience of different classes of hotels. The results of this study show why companies can and should harness the power of creative consumers and their online reviews.
In the following article “It’s Emergent: Five Propositions on the Relationship between Creative Consumers and Technology” examines the interaction between creative consumers and the technologies they use and adapt. DesAutels, Salehi-Sangari, Berthon and Pitt’s explain that creative consumer innovations are adopted and diffused by markets in a way that is often far from being systematic in nature and also is not simply governed by the forces of either ‘technology push’ or ‘market pull’. They present a model and propositions that disentangle the interactions between the creative consumer and their innovations.
The last article “Generation-C: Creative Consumers in a World of Intellectual Property Rights” examines creative consumers as a movement, and the implications this movement has for intellectual property rights lawyers, owners of property rights, governments and politicians. Kietzmann and Angell’s identify the formation and growth of the creative consumer movement and illustrate how it is enabled by different social media technologies. They then offer a number of thought provoking insights for policy makers and organizational leaders on the evolution of this movement and its impact for intellectual property laws, which can simultaneously promote and inhibit user innovation.
Don´t miss this important Special Issue about creative consumers. There is no doubt that this phenomena will get even more important in the future….
This is my last blog of the year. I wish you a merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!