Exploring the Nature and Implementation Process of User-Centric Business Models

Christoph Hienerth, Peter Keinz, Christopher Lettl

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Recent ICT advances have allowed companies to interact with external stakeholders, especially users, in more efficient and effective ways, with the result that more and more companies are striving to take advantage of these new opportunities and harness their users’ creative potential by integrating them into core business processes. Successful companies like Threadless or Dell - which were designed to allow user innovation and co-creation from the outset - have clearly demonstrated the potential value of such approaches. However, introducing user-centric value creation processes at established companies is a complex task, requiring major adaptations to traditional manufacturer-centered business models. At present, little is known about how such companies can successfully implement user-centric business models: this article explores (1) the success factors for attracting and engaging users in core business processes, and (2) effective strategies to overcome internal resistance at established companies wishing to introduce user-centric business models. We apply a multi-case comparison methodology between three well-known companies (LEGO, IBM and Coloplast) which have successfully integrated users into their core business processes, and find that implementing user-centric business models successfully requires a comprehensive approach encompassing an appropriate social software design, a transparent intellectual property policy, proper incentive systems, evolutional learning and nurturing as well as employee empowerment.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalLong Range Planning
    Issue number5-6 (November-December)
    Pages (from-to)344-374
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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