Social media discussion forums and product innovation - The way forward?

  • Piia Haavisto
Keywords: Product innovation, social media, discussion forums


The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential use of social media discussion forums in product innovation. The literature shows the value of sport addicts and hobbyists as innovators in product innovation; hence this study is related to sports. This is an empirical study based on substantial data collected from 28 discussion forums. Altogether 2,178 discussions related to heart rate monitors have been evaluated for this paper.

Discussion forums can be regarded as a source of product innovation. However, due to the excessive amount of information in these forums, a planned approach in order to utilize these remarks is necessary. Sport addicts and hobbyists are very interested in product improvements and usage possibilities, forming a considerable resource. Social media discussion forums can replace focus groups, online surveys and panels, and it is easy to reach large groups, test ideas and secure feedback. However, the rapid speed in conversations and excessive need for interaction between individuals set high demands for organizations, as they should clearly decide how to participate, when and how to direct discussions, and how to effectively be present.

Author Biography

Piia Haavisto
Senior Lecturer at Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Hyvinkää, Finland
How to Cite
Haavisto, P. (2012). Social media discussion forums and product innovation - The way forward?. First Monday, 17(10).