1. What are similarities and differences between a community-driven product development process and a traditional product development process within a firm?
A. In both types of processes, the product undergoes same basic steps including the following, however the steps may take place in different order and may be performed by different teams.
i. Artists, designers or experts come up with several designs of a product ii. Each design undergoes the scrutiny from the functional and sales point of view and the one or few designs are shortlisted for final production. iii. The product is manufactured and put up for sale in virtual or physical stores iv. Customers buy the product
v. Customers provide feedback about the product via customer services or forums. This feedback is fed to the step-i in order to improve future designs of the product.
B. In both the cases, the aim of product development is to satisfy the customers’ needs while keeping low production cost, increasing customer base and the profit for the company.
C. Also in both the processes, there would be some kind of innovation involved in product development so that the new product has something new and improved which will make the customers buy the product again. This might be a new feature or a new design in product.
A. In traditional process, all the steps of product development take places within the company by its employees, sometimes except step v in which customers are involved to provide the feedback. One the other hand, in community driven product development, some of the steps are performed by the community members via crowd-sourcing. In traditional process, the customers only get the final catalog of products to pick and buy from. However, in community driven product development process, the customers have higher level of engagement. They are involved in designing of product, final selection, improvement, marketing (word of mouth) and of course eventually they buy the product.
B. In traditional process, the feedback about the product is received towards the end of product development via beta testing or through the end users of product. However, in community driven process, the feedback about the product design is provided during the product development itself and hence the improvements can made well before the final product is manufactured. This leads to the final product of higher quality and higher potential for sales.
2. What motivates community members to participate? What is Threadless offering its community members?
A. When community members participate in the process, they get a sense of belonging and ownership of the products. They feel to be a part of the company. Their voice is respected by the company and their suggestions are implemented giving them a sense of control so that they know they can have a product of their choice. They get a platform to critique the product which they want to buy in future and be a part of its development process.
B. The spirit of Competition and Success also plays an important role among community members. On this community platform, each of the member showcases his or her talent which is judged by other community members by means of feedback and voting. Hence the want of recognition and achievement acts as a motivating factor.
C. Sometimes monetary benefit is also a motivating