Social media driven innovations: an exploratory study in China

Focus
Par Jiwat Ram, Siqi Liu
As societies move into cyberspace, the exponential growth of Social Media (SM) is enabling business innovations. Yet little knowledge exists on the role SM plays in driving innovations in Chinese businesses. Addressing this gap, data collected through semi-structured interviews were analyzed using content analysis techniques. We find that SM is driving innovations in: (1) agile product testing/trials to eliminate or reduce re-work/waste, implicitly facilitating lean management, (2) development of payment and distribution channels including SM enabled Online-to-Offline business, (3) empowered integration of ‘wisdom of masses’ in product/service design and delivery processes, (4) farming seeds of consumer circles for marketing/sales and enhanced loyalty, (5) development of social media shop fronts, and (6) development of agile product design teams transcending organizational talent boundaries. Academically, new findings extend theories on innovation, particularly open innovations. Managerially, the findings provide strategies for business/IT executives to leverage SM to drive innovations, and policy makers in developing policies that facilitate SM-driven innovations.
JEL Codes: O14, L86, N75
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