Customer participation in business model innovation
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Asiakkaan osallistaminen liiketoimintamallin innovointiin
Several previous studies concern either business model innovation or customer participation but there is no research on customer participation in business model innovation. As a consequence, the objective of the thesis is to construct a framework for business model innovation through customer participation. The main research question is formulated as following: How can a company utilise customer participation to improve its business models? The study began with a literature review of the topic. The research strategy was multi method multiple case study. One supplier company and three case companies, which were seen as customer companies, were involved in this research. Data was collected through observations, informal discussions and interviews. A semi-structured interview approach was used. Audio-recorder and transcripted interviews were coded, following the structures of the interviews. As a result of the thesis, a framework is constructed to offer companies methods to involve customers into their business model innovation. The framework contains two parts. The first part consists of business model components, which are: customer value, market segment, revenue model and resources and capabilities. The second part consists of three participation methods, which are: design for the customer, design with the customer and design by the customer. The method called design for the customer was empirically tested and used to generate improvement ideas from the customers concerning customer value. This resulted in successful customer participation in business model innovation. Therefore, though the framework still needs verifying, it can be suggested that the other business model components and two other methods may also be suitable methods to integrate customers into business model innovation.