Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Next practice, not best practice: Using virtual worlds in new product development

Daeke, Julia
zu Knyphausen-Aufseß, Dodo
Volume: 20
Number: 5
Pages: 401 - 433
ISSN-Print: 1477-9056
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2015
Keywords: New product development; NPD; Automobile industry; Virtual worlds; Innovation; Customer integration; Internet; Automotive development projects; Audi AG; BMW Group; Daimler AG

Involving customers in the development of new products development is crucial to market success. However, many companies, especially within the technology-oriented automotive industry, fail to do so. In this paper, we examine how web-based virtual worlds offer fresh perspectives for integrating customers into product development. We argue that companies must look to 'next practice, not best practice' if they hope to outperform the market. We also investigate the steps involved in such projects, and the factors that make them possible. We conducted interviews with managers from three leading car manufacturers - Audi AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG - and experts from industry-related research institutes and service companies. Our findings demonstrate that virtual worlds support more efficient and effective new product development projects, especially in their early and late phases.