Friday, February 4, 2011

Study by Consulting Firm TCGen and Researchers from Santa Clara University Identifies Best Practices in Social Media for Product Development

A new study by TCGen, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based management consulting firm, and three Santa Clara University business professors has identified several best practices for using social media to speed up or improve the product-development process.

The report “How Social Media Methodologies Are Applied to High-Technology Companies in New Product Development,” examines six organizations that have successfully used social media to improve efficiency, decrease time to market, and increase innovation as demonstrated in case studies outlined in the report.

The authors of the study noticed that more and more organizations are using social media to reduce the complexity and challenge of product development, spurring them to study the issue further to gain an understanding of what works and what does not.

Among the findings:

1. The most successful social platforms in the study used specialized communities with prequalified participants. Social platforms (such as the IBM Jams), properly applied, debunk the myth that innovation cannot be accomplished on a short, fixed schedule.
2. Implementing “social” product features, such as RSS (Really Simple Syndication) as a feature in software products helps organizations garner near-real-time, customized user feedback.
3. Involving the “virtual voice” of customers can accelerate design decisions and shorten time to market by making use of content such as user-generated photographs of products in use.
4. Allowing customers to help drive strategy by contributing to the product roadmap and seeing the result of their input enabled one study participant to become more customer focused.
5. The learning curve is shortened and standards and best practices are established most effectively when organizations invest in a small number of people dedicated to accelerating adoption and ensuring consistent application of social platforms.
6. Adopting a repeatable innovation model in conjunction with an idea-management platform such as BrightIdea accelerates time to market.
Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business professors Tammy L. Madsen, Kumar Sarangee and Jennifer L. Woolley worked with TCGen to develop the study. It examined the impact of social media initiatives over the entire product-development lifecycle — from ideation to testing — and found the impact goes beyond open innovation and includes product strategy, product definition, and knowledge management.
The full report is available from TCGen.

About TCGen, Inc.

TCGen is an experienced based, management consulting firm specializing in product development and strategy. TCGen can help clients profit by assisting them with social strategies, predictive metrics, product development, product definition, and strategy. Our clients range from the largest high tech clients in North America to early stage startups in software, telecom, medical and consumer electronics.

About the Leavey School of Business

The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University began in 1923, and was one of the first business schools in the country to receive national accreditation. Its undergraduate business, MBA and Executive MBA programs are consistently ranked among the top in the nation. The curriculum at all levels emphasizes the leadership role of business in creating an ethical society as well as business responsibilities for social justice and sustainability in the global marketplace. The School opened its new $49 million building for undergraduate, graduate, and professional business education in Fall 2008. For more information, see

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