Innovation Process for the Collaborative Consumption

Kasper Holm Theilgaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


The sharing economy is growing at a significant rate. A large impact is due to the shift in consumption behaviour away from valuing ownership, which allows both peers and firms to create services that take advantage of idle capacity. Many theories are well known in describing the environment and the shift in consumption known as collaborative consumption, but very little is recognised on a firm's approach to innovation for this emerging market.
This thesis aims to investigate key characteristics of innovation suitable for the collaborative consumption, and then develop an explanatory framework of how a form should design its innovation approach. To reach this objective I used a deductive approach to theory and developed a hypothesis based on theory which I found to overlap and explain certain phenomena existing in the collaborative consumption. This hypothesis was then tested using qualitative methods by investigating the behaviour of two startups, EatAbout and TradeUp, and a product intensive company, Ikea. The cases were chosen based on inventiveness and differing scale of characteristics. In this explanatory study I compare the hypothesized theoretical framework with the actions of these three cases to achieve the innovation which they have proposed to the market.
I find that an innovation for the collaborative consumption needs to be disruptive in nature in order to meet the shifting consumption behaviour. An innovation needs to provide consumers with ‘new meaning’ of consuming it and it can be pushed onto the market by a process known as design driven. Additionally, the innovation process needs to involve a method of exploratory research with key collaborators in order to reach these characteristics. However, I also find that other forms such as exploiting the internal capabilities by broker knew knowledge and using creative techniques may result in innovative proposals for the collaborative consumption.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages79
SupervisorsToke Reichstein