At first, the initial situation on the culture of creativity is investigated with a questionnaire study. Therefore the perspectives of the users (impulse providers), experts (impulse receivers) and stakeholders (as part of the organization) are subjects to research (Figure 2).
The three perspectives of users, experts, and stakeholders are first examined individually using questionnaires, interviews and observations. The results of the studies are combined in Chapter 5 in order to derive a concept for the implementation of the innovation platform.
3.1 Initial situation of the culture of creativity
A culture of creativity is a basis for innovation capability. With a community innovation platform, elements of the culture of creativity can be addressed and improved, such as communication across hierarchies and disciplines, or chances to share new ideas. In order to investigate the initial situation within the organization of the Porsche AG, a six month research study was carried out using a questionnaire on the basis of the CCI model. For this questionnaire, 19 statements were derived from the four fields of identity, organization, employees and atmosphere with the help of three innovation managers. The questionnaire was then given to 228 employees in the form of identical printed versions and they were asked to fill in how much they agree with each statement on a 6 point scale from 0 to 5 (0
do not agree at all, 5
fully agree). Responses were handed back in anonymously via the corporate mail system for descriptive analysis. The participating teams and departments represent different activities along the innovation process, such as advanced and series development of body, electrics and electronics, chassis, drivetrain and overall vehicle development, as well as innovation and concepts development, styling, purchasing, finance and project management. In Table 3, the average answers of all 140 respondents on the most relevant questions in regard to an innovation community platform are summarized.
Table 3. Results from the questionnaire on a culture of creativity
Overall, it turns out, that the employees are open toward new ideas and changes. Innovation is perceived to be a strategically important task and thus, the participants accept ideas from outside the organization. In this context, they appreciate recognition for their efforts more than financial compensation. The communication and knowledge exchange with colleagues still leaves room for improvement, especially the exchange across departments. As a major finding, it turns out, the employees do not find enough time to develop their own ideas and also lack channels to share their ideas within the organization and the time to develop own ideas. By appropriate design and integration of a community innovation platform these desires can be addressed. If done right, a community innovation platform can be expected to provide a ‘win–win situation’ for the users and the organization.
3.2 Investigation of the user’s perspective
With the help of 20 semi-structured interviews with potential users in a six month case study, motivational aspects have been identified. Two workshops with innovation management experts have been held to identify relevant aspects for the following interviews. In addition, two innovation community platforms for demonstrational and test purposes were introduced to provide interviewees with a deeper understanding of variations in basic features of such platforms. Both platforms have the standard tools of idea evaluation, personal profiles, and rankings. The implementation possibilities varied, for example, in terms of the type of idea evaluation. One platform was implemented with Likes and the other with a 5-star scale. One of the platforms had a mature functionality in the area of social interaction. Whereas, the other additional mechanisms of the idea competition had implemented. On the one hand, such a preliminary demonstration leads to the fixation of the interviewees. On the other hand, it was necessary to create a basis for the participants. This way they could express their wishes more concrete and more realistic. For further details also see Albers et al. (2013).
Based on the results of the workshops, questions have been identified and attributed to the model of work motivation and volition and included into a semi-structured interview guideline. Semi-structured interviews with 20 potential users of an innovation community form the basis for the identification of relevant motives. The interview data has been transcribed, tagged and clustered. Furthermore, 15 possible features were derived from an analysis of existing innovation community platforms and literature. They were presented to the interviewees, who were asked to rank these according to how much they would like to use them. The following section provides an insight into the clustered results from the interview and user preferences toward functions in relation to the model of work motivation and volition. The interviewees mentioned that ‘the projects [the employees are] working on don’t leave a lot of time. If [they] spend time working in the community
it should be valuable for the company.’ [Interviewee 15] Furthermore they revealed that ‘working in the community is definitely not prioritized.’ [Interviewee 5] To summarize, the lack of time demands that ideas can be efficiently added. The relevance of innovation and the suitability of a community platform to contribute to innovation need to be clear.
Specific innovation tasks can draw attention to an innovation community. Even if an employee is convinced that the innovation community is helpful, they need arguments why the particular task on the platform can be important. One interviewee said in a workshop with a test community platform that ‘in order to generate an additional value for the company, [he] always tried to solve the given task.’ [Interviewee 15] Another interviewee states that ‘the main point is what the benefit for the [company] is.’ [Interviewee 2] Overall, the users want the tasks to be within a strategically relevant area and on a question with a noticeable impact.
Most interviewees have experience with websites like Wikipedia, Facebook and Amazon. However, they find that ‘even small technical difficulties can demotivate potential users.’ [Interviewee 16] and ‘[throw] [users] back in [their] motivation.’ [Interviewee 15] Furthermore an interviewee says ‘even though [he] consider[s the innovation community] as very important, [he expects] that the access and the handling with the community platform is very easy and uncomplicated.’ [Interviewee 16] Also, the ‘effort [should be] as low as possible to work’ [Interviewee 10] in the community platform and ‘ideas [need to] be entered efficiently.’ [Interviewee 5] The interviewees agree that they expect an intuitive community platform and comfortable access.
One interview partner is ‘sure, that [he] can contribute to some innovation tasks more than to others, based on [his] experience.’ [Interviewee 3] Another interviewee ‘believe[s] that everyone has his favorite topics.’ [Interviewee 15]. The sample of interviewees confirms that individual knowledge of different users, their specific technology or market expertise and each person’s personal intellectual skills vary. Depending on the specific task, users felt more or less creative. On the one hand, if a task is too hard for users to contribute at all, they might get frustrated. Thus, it should appear to be solvable. On the other hand, especially achievement driven users might get bored if a task is too simple. For these users the ideal level of excitement is reached, when a task is challenging and pushes them to give their best effort to solve the task.
Furthermore fifteen potential users were asked to rank suggested functions by their personal preference. The result of that analysis can be seen in figure 3.
Figure 3. Ranking of functions according to personal preferences of interviewees.
Except the function ‘idea rating’, which is a basic function and expected by the interviewees, the distribution of the ranking is heterogeneous. The function for automatic idea ‘forwarding to supervisors’ is for example ranked first by two employees and ranked last by three others. One possible explanation for such discrepancy is that power motivated users focus on that function, whereas employees who are motivated by the need for affiliation and achievement do not consider this function as important. If the decision whether to implement certain functions in the community platform or not was based on the average rating of the potential users, functions would not be taken into account although they are most important to some users.
With the help of the statistic method of multidimensional unfolding, these preferences can be visualized. The method allows for objects and subjects to be projected in a two-dimensional space by their similarity (Backhaus et al.
2006). It can be illustrated that all interviewees and all functions are in one room. Each of the interviewees has the possibility to move the functions in the room. In addition, it can also move freely in space. A compromise between the respondents decides on the positions of the functions in the room. Each respondent positions in such a way that a high rank in an interviewee’s preferences is close to him, while a function, which is disliked, is further away from him.
The result of applying this method to all functions and interviewees can be seen in Figure 4. It turns out, that similar functions like the ‘chat function’ and the ‘online visibility’ (both stimulating the need for affiliation) are arranged close to each other in the unfolding. The same effect of clustering also applies to the other two kinds of functions that stimulate the need for achievement and the need for power.
Figure 4. Multidimensional unfolding of user preferences toward different functions of a community innovation platform.
For the purpose of a community innovation platform in which participation is voluntary, it is necessary to make sure that all motivational aspects are covered (Albers et al.
2013). Thus, users need to be motivated explicitly as well as implicitly, and their perceived abilities (according to Kehr) should be further emphasized. In Figure 5, example statements from interviewees as well as derived requirements are shown.
Figure 5. Components of user motivation and implications for the design of a community innovation platform.
From the interviews the following implications can be derived: First, in order to foster explicit motives, the relevance of the platform needs to be published by wide spread communication across the organization. Second, considering that every potential member of the community is an individual, a community innovation platform should offer a multitude of different functions to motivate all kinds of users: functions to stimulate the need for affiliation (e.g., personal profiles), functions to stimulate the need for achievement (e.g., feedback on own ideas) and functions to stimulate the need for power (e.g., names and portraits next to shared ideas). Third, since every user will define his perceived abilities differently, it is suggested that several innovation tasks with different levels of complexity and different topics are given to the community at the same time. Furthermore, usability and easy access combined with challenging, but still doable tasks have been mentioned as crucial points by the interviewees.
The result emphasizes the individuality of each potential member of the community. In order to motivate different characters, a multitude of functions should be offered by a community innovation platform. At the same time, not every user needs all of the possible functions. Thus, a platform should let every user decide for themselves whether or not they want to use a function, e.g., whether they want to participate in a ranking system.
3.4 Investigation of the stakeholder’s perspective
In order to investigate the stakeholder’s perspective, ten organizational units have been identified with the help of a stakeholder analysis: the works council, human resources, idea management, intellectual property department, corporate legal department, employment law department, data protection, IT system administration, IT security and purchasing department. Within a time span of 12 months, workshops have been conducted with representatives of each of these stakeholder parties to discuss objectives and requirements for an innovation community platform. With the method of participating observation in these workshops, the authors could be part of the activities and thus gain deeper insights into interests of the stakeholders. Each workshop included an introduction into the idea of an innovation community platform, a discussion on the objectives of the stakeholder and a collection of requirements derived from the objectives. The most relevant findings are summarized in the following list:
From the discussions, three major fields of implications can be drawn: Legal documents, software design and system architecture (see Table 4).
Table 4. Subjects of discussion from a stakeholder’s perspective