UCL School of Management

Research seminar

How to improve innovation success: customers, employees and the search process


Philipp Cornelius, UCL


Friday, 27 March 2015
16:00 – 17:30
B15 Darwin Building

Innovation is at the heart of many firms’ operations and it is a key determinant of their economic success. The reasons for differences in the success of innovations are manifold and understanding them is critical for organisations in order to survive in fast moving modern markets. I present original empirical research on antecedents of innovation success.

Following recent trends in Information Technology, virtual customer interaction is the rapidly emerging digitisation and democratisation of customer interaction. Its dramatic shifts in terms of interaction volume, frequency, customer selection and community effects make it both an exciting opportunity as well as a difficult challenge for small and large organisations alike. We demonstrate a positive causal effect of virtual customer interaction on NPD success and show that customers from diverse backgrounds particularly increase the likelihood of innovation success.

Regular employees are another inexpensive source of ideas within organisations. Switching between different tasks, units and locations within the same organisation may allow employees to incorporate novel solutions in their ideas and potentially increase their value. We will investigate this question in a novel dataset of 30,659 employee ideas of a German international car parts manufacturer.

The search process innovators employ may be another determinant of innovation success. Conflicting propositions have been made in prior literature, suggesting local or distant search or a mixture of both. I will investigate this tension within a heavily extended crowdfunding dataset and employ a novel technique from the language sciences called topic modelling, which I will use to identify latent innovation attributes and how they are discovered and used by innovators.

Last updated Tuesday, 24 March 2015