Social Innovation Crystal Ball Predictions for 2012


A quick peek into some research on the use of social computing for product innovation and product development and some insight into what to expect in 2012. I teamed up with innovation consulting firm Kalypso last year to survey companies using (or planning to use) social media or other “web 2.0” techniques to improve innovation. The research followed a similar survey in 2010, allowing us to get some insight into trends and future direction. Kalypso’s Amy Kenly and I teamed up to share the results and I thought I would share a bit with you here.

The Research (and my crystal ball disclaimer)

For those of you that know me, you know my regular disclaimer that I don’t really own a crystal ball (or even a magic eight ball), so I rely on survey-based research to get a view of what companies are doing and plan to do in the near future. Kalypso’s second annual “SPIKE” survey provided an opportunity to see what companies planned to, but also to see how much they accomplished of the plans they put in place in 2010. I will hit on a couple of the highlights here, but feel free to read the full Predictions for Social Product Innovation in 2012 post on the Kalypso website.

Key Research Findings

One of the main findings from the research was that in 2011 companies managed to gain benefits despite a lack of strategic plans. In 2010 we found that many companies were acting without a plan. In 2011, we saw that many were able to achieve some valuable results including more (and perhaps more importantly) better product ideas. In addition, they were able to use social computing to strengthen relationships internally and externally.

Source: Kalypso LLC

A related finding is that quite a few companies took a step back from social computing in 2011. While the total percentage of companies (about half of companies in both 2010 and 2011, see chart in the Kalypso post) either have a plan or are developing a plan for social product innovation – there was a distinct shift from those that said they have a plan towards those that are in planning mode. We interpret this as a direct result of the fact we reported last year – that companies were acting without a plan – and that this is a healthy sign that they are taking a step back to strategize (hopefully taking into account the learnings of their early efforts).

Implications for Manufacturers

Social product innovation is still new and companies are still learning. There have been some false starts and some companies have needed to take a step back to put a plan in place. On the other hand, the benefits manufacturers are achieving from social product innovation are impressive and strategic. Not surprisingly, companies plan to do more in 2012 (see below). It should be an interesting year.

Source: Kalypso LLC

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on the use of social computing for NPD and innovation, I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? How about my post on 2011 – The Year Social Computing Explodes in NPD and PLM, was my “crystal ball” clear on that one? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective. And please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PLM and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity.