Paul College helps companies respond to latest trends in new product development

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Paul College is proud to have a marketing department ranked by Academic Analytics in the top 5 percent nationally in scholarly productivity and impact. A particular strength of this department is a research prowess in new product development and innovation. The groundbreaking research conducted by our marketing faculty members provides research-backed data to inform companies as they plan their new product development and innovation strategies.

Sustainability and new product development

Inspired by IKEA’s progressive sustainability strategy, Paul College associate professors of marketing Ludwig Bstieler, Shuili Du and Goksel Yalcinkaya are investigating how a company’s commitment to sustainability affects the development and performance of new products. They are focused on looking at how 453 international firms in a range of industries facilitate sustainability-focused innovation.

They have identified three important elements that foster this innovation in companies: whether the company has an innovation strategy, the level of the company’s global perspective, and how the company cultivates open innovation within its employee population. Through this research, Bstieler, Du, and Yalcinkaya have found strong empirical evidence that a focus on sustainability can help new product development performance.

Crowdsourcing innovation

Some companies use crowdsourcing platforms to harness user insights that inform the creation of new ideas at lower costs than traditional marketing research. But how can crowdsourcing help with the development of new products? Associate professors of marketing Billur Akdeniz, Shuili Du, and assistant professor of marketing Matthew O’Hern are examining different types of user-generated product feedback to determine their effects on a company’s new product development performance.

They have categorized types of crowdsourced feedback as core (e.g., submitting a new product design) and non-core (such as commenting on another user’s designs), and are examining which types are essential to product innovation based on online data they’ve extracted from a crowdsourcing community with several thousand active members. The findings of the research will provide guidance that firms can use to identify which consumers are most likely to create innovative new product concepts.

Customer-created products

Don’t see a product you want in the marketplace? Creating it yourself becomes more possible every day.

While the digital revolution has given marketers the ability to better predict performance based on data mined from a customer’s past activities, assistant professor of marketing Matthew O’Hern thinks the future lies in allowing customers to create their own products, à la user-generated content on Wikipedia or open source software.

O’Hern is studying how the world of customer-created products is spreading to other industries, and how it could disrupt these industries much like file sharing disrupted the music industry. Changes like this are increasingly likely as millions of potential “makers” gain easy access to 3D printable content online, desktop 3D printers become increasingly affordable, and handheld 3D scanners enable consumers to replicate (and modify) their existing products in creative ways. In short, this new logic, which O’Hern and his coauthors call “Innovation as Data,” promises to change the game entirely.

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Lisa Nugent | Web & Mobile Development