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Online consumer communities, collaborative learning and innovation

Carla Rossi (Associate Professor at the University of Basilicata – Faculty of Economics and Management, Potenza, Italy)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Article publication date: 30 August 2011




The paper aims to outline the managerial challenges faced by the organizations interested in leveraging knowledge and creative talent embedded in online customers' communities to sustain innovation in b‐2‐c industries.


Through a detailed case study analysis of a leading food producer who launched an online open collaborative platform to gather users' idea for new products the paper aims to highlight the transformational effort that firms have to make in order to leverage knowledge absorption from customers in the context of innovation.


The paper suggests potential strategies for conventional companies to engage consumers in knowledge (co‐creation) and collaborative innovation processes, formulating some hypothesis that could support an interpretative model of the capabilities needed to develop, maintain and increase customers' engagement in the exchange.

Research limitations/implications

The paper presents the first results of an ongoing research that needs to be deepened and widened to cover other kinds of business sectors.

Practical implications

On the basis of the case analyzed, the paper suggests some managerial actions that could be adopted to facilitate customers' engagement in processes of collaborative learning and innovation, outlining the potential barriers (in primis managerial reluctance) that could prevent a successful result.


The case contributes to the literature on co‐creation, demonstrating how it can be progressively achieved and improved, through a combination of management and marketing strategies, addressed at accruing not only users' motivation but also managerial commitment.



Rossi, C. (2011), "Online consumer communities, collaborative learning and innovation", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 46-62.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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