Victor P. Seidel, Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, and Benedikt Langner, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Industrial and Corporate Change
Abstract: Firms increasingly seek to use online communities as sources of ideas, innovations, and designs. However, many such open innovation efforts lack sustained participation and ultimately fail. This research sought to understand motivations to participate in a firm-hosted design community and how the nature of the design task influences sustained participation. From an inductive study of a leading vehicle design community, we found that project variety — across two dimensions of project autonomy and project complexity — supported a range of motivations to participate and the social practice of vehicle design. We discuss implications of our study for research on online communities and for firms within the global vehicle industry.
The Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI) is the largest and oldest international research consortium aimed at understanding the challenges facing the global automotive industry. PVMI’s network includes more than 50 prominent scholars of innovation, strategy, technology, operations, organization, and human resources who have conducted interdisciplinary, often collaborative, research at more than 25 universities worldwide. Originally founded at MIT in 1979, PVMI became part of the Mack Institute in 2013.