Online community platforms – A macro-overview and case study

James Kennedy
BrainJuicer PLC, United Kingdom

Laurent Verard
Philips Healthcare, United States

OVERVIEW

Introduction

In 2000, AG Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, set the company a goal that by the end of the decade, 50% of all new P&G products and technologies would be sourced from outside of the company, using external networks. By 2006, 35% of P&G's new ideas were reported to be coming from outside the company, and in 2008, Lafley was able to report that P&G's commercial success rate for new brands and products was running at between 50% and 60% compared with 15% – 20% in 2000.1

Other companies have followed P&G's lead, and looked to external sources in the search for ideas to fill the front end of the innovation funnel. The importance of involving consumers early on in the product development cycle has increased as more categories of products have become fashion and trend-led. Furthermore, the current global recession, far from alleviating the pressure on companies to innovate, has only increased it, as companies have fought to retain and increase market share in increasingly competitive markets.