How brands use consumer-generated data to build their innovation pipeline

Spot user-developed hacks and innovations with social data.

The author(s)

  • Sandro Kaulartz Social Intelligence Analytics, Switzerland
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Back in 2020, Ipsos published a thought leadership paper titled, “Bigger Innovations Need Bigger Data.” The crux of the report centered around the idea that we can use the internet as a source of innovation to identify emerging and unmet needs and detect corresponding “user innovations” in a category.

As innovation research has long shown, it’s the users (i.e. consumers) who are the real pioneers of innovation, not the companies and manufacturers. For example, the first personal computers were developed by lead users, as were the first personal 3D printers. Even the new medical apps built into our smartphones and smartwatches were first conceived of by hackers (von, Hippel, 2017). Companies have been on the hunt for these so-called “lead user innovations” for years but were deterred by the cost of sourcing them. Enter: social data.

Online conversations are a gold mine of innovation opportunities - primarily because “lead users” are generally willing to share their ideas and hacks with peers via the internet. Given the sheer volume of social data available for almost any subject, it seemed obvious that brands should harness the web to fuel their innovation pipelines.

The Ipsos team, in partnership with the MIT Innovation Lab, ultimately evolved this concept into our “Innovation Spaces Method” - which we’ll discuss further in an upcoming webinar on March 8th. In sum, the method gathers user-generated data, applies AI-models to surface needs and innovations, then maps the landscape of unmet user needs and their trajectories to uncover innovation opportunities. Now, this process fuels many of our clients to define and commercialize innovation opportunities.

To learn how we helped GSK, a multinational pharmaceutical company, spot user innovations in the cold and flu space, read the full blog post.

For more on using social data to identify market opportunities, register today to join our upcoming webinar, “Unleash Your Innovation Front End With AI-Enabled Consumer Intelligence.”

The author(s)

  • Sandro Kaulartz Social Intelligence Analytics, Switzerland

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