Fuelling Philips' innovation engine
Philips has a long-established history of introducing innovative products in the consumer electronics space: from the cassette tape to the compact disc, which it co-introduced with Sony. Sustaining innovation on this scale is challenging, and Philips' market research arm is constantly evaluating new approaches to discovering what consumers want to see next. In 2007, the company wondered whether it was doing all it could to understand consumers. Until this point, Philips had been continuously evolving its traditional methods with new forms of market research. However, the team found that its ability to gather unexpected, game-changing insights from consumers was still limited. The traditional methods they had in place were most useful for testing consumer opinion and sentiments, and the newer methods, while effective in harvesting insightful information, were expensive and time-consuming. Philips wanted to look three years ahead perhaps even further to discover its next breakthroughs and this, it realized, was only possible if it could more effectively harness consumer insights early in the product development cycle. In 2007, spurred in large part by the mandate to more deeply embed consumer-centric thinking companywide, Philips' Consumer Electronics (CE) sector took its first steps toward engaging a private online community, planning to thoroughly test it over the course of one year. Still unsure of how an online community would work and how it would complement existing market research efforts, the company approached Communispace to help build a private online community.
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