The BMW Group Co-Creation Lab: Managing an Innovation Hub for a Panopticon of Users

Gregor Jawecki, Volker Bilgram, Philipp Wiegandt


Since the turn of the millennium many companies have undergone a radical change in innovation strategy by opening up their innovation processes to external stakeholders (Chesbrough 2003; von Hippel 2005). In particular the traditional conception of consumers as passive buyers and users is challenged by a new outside-in perspective in which they become co-creators of products and services (Prahalad and Ramswamy 2000). Researchers and practitioners alike emphasize the active integration of users in the value creation process to develop products which better match users’ wants and needs and are thus more likely to succeed in the market (Dahan and Hauser 2002; Füller 2010a; Ogawa and Piller 2006; Sawhney et al 2005). The idea of creating products and services with and not only for users is facilitated by new communication and information technologies. Social media has not only changed the marketing game but also ignited and accelerated a whole new breed of online co-creation often engaging thousands of users in online co-creation initiatives. Examples for new web-based methods and tools include toolkits (von Hippel and Katz 2002), user design (Dahan and Hauser 2002), idea broadcasting platforms (Lakhani 2006) and innovation communities (Adamczyk et al 2010; Haller et al 2009; Sawhney et al 2005).