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Community-Sourcing a New Marketing Course: Collaboration in Social Media

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This paper shows the value of an online personal learning network or community in educational innovation. It shows how theories and best practices from service and product innovation, as well the theories of learning communities, were applied using social media to facilitate the grant proposal and course development processes for a new course in social media marketing. The innovation theory and practices discussed, and the example of their application in a higher-education environment, will help guide educators to (1) create learning networks and communities and to (2) use those communities to innovate in their curriculum and classrooms.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Marketing Education Review, vol. 23, no. 3 (fall 2013), pp. 225–240.
© 2013 Society for Marketing Advances. All rights reserved. Permissions: www.copyright.com
ISSN 1052–8008 (print) / ISSN 2153–9987 (online)
DOI: 10.2753/MER1052-8008230302
Curriculum innovation and revision is important to align
a business school curriculum with the mission of the
educational institution (Lee 2006) and maintain needed
relevance in the courses offered (Navarro 2008). Previous
pedagogical research has shown how research concepts
from product and service innovation could be applied to
course and curriculum innovation, including the innova-
tion techniques of continuous improvement (Matulich,
Papp, and Haytko 2008) and market-based development
(O’Keefe and Hamer 2010). This paper shows how product
and service innovation concepts can be applied earlier in
curriculum innovation, during initial course planning and
development. The key research question for this paper is:
How can crowdsourcing to business school stakeholders
be used to guide the initial design and development of
a totally new course?
This paper draws on the author’s recent experience
creating a new course in Social Media Marketing with
assistance from a social media communit y. Social Media
Marketing is a hot topic in marketing, but a very new one,
so new that neither of the crutches the author leaned on
in previous course development—other instructors’ syllabi
or a course textbook—was available. The grant proposal
and course development processes discussed illustrate the
power of community-sourcing course innovation using
social media.
TECHNIQUES OF SERVICE INNOVATION
APPLIED TO COURSE DEVELOPMENT
A recent paper on marketing pedagogy advocated bring-
ing iterative innovation processes developed for service
and product innovation to curriculum development to
advance the marketing curriculum (O’Keefe and Hamer
2010). Research on high-tech and service innovation sug-
gests that a really innovative new offering may benefit
from utilizing a market-based “probe and learn” process of
bringing just-good-enough products quickly to market and
adjusting to marketing feedback (Lynn and Morone 1996).
Lean innovation (Ries 2011) and effectuation (Sarasvathy
2001), originally developed for start-up ventures, advo-
cate getting minimal products in users’ hands to facilitate
valuable input for product or service innovation. The key
concept underlying the processes of probe and learn (Lynn
and Morone 1996), lean innovation (Ries 2011), or effec-
tuation (Sarasvathy 2001) is to bring a minimal offering
to market and use market input to continually improve
the offering.
A “Market-Based Curriculum Revision” process would
use the power of iterative changes, quick market responses,
and rapid changes on experimental courses advocated
by researchers in service and product innovation (Ettlie,
Bridges, and O’Keefe 1984; O’Keefe and Hamer 2010). Other
authors have suggested stakeholder input (Ellen and Pilling
2002) and continuous improvement (Matulich, Papp,
and Haytko 2008) in course improvement or curriculum
development. The goal of the “Market-Based Curriculum
Revision” process is to facilitate more rapid course innova-
tion grounded by input from stakeholders in instruction
(O’Keefe and Hamer 2010). This market-based approach is
facilitated at some universities through expedited approval
Gary R. Schirr (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago), Associate
Professor of Marketing, Radford University, Radford, VA, gschirr@
radford.edu.
COMMUNITY-SOURCING A NEW MARKETING COURSE:
COLLABORATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Gary R. Schirr
This paper shows the value of an online personal learning network or community in educational innova-
tion. It shows how theories and best practices from service and product innovation, as well the theories
of learning communities, were applied using social media to facilitate the grant proposal and course
development processes for a new course in social media marketing. The innovation theory and practices
discussed, and the example of their application in a higher-education environment, will help guide edu-
cators to (1) create learning networks and communities and to (2) use those communities to innovate in
their curriculum and classrooms.
226 Marketing Education Review
for identified “special topics” courses. For example, at the
author’s university, a new course can be taught as a spe-
cial topics course for up to two semesters before it must
be formally submitted as a new course. If the instructors
are flexible, solicit detailed input from students and other
stakeholders, and respond to the feedback during the spe-
cial topics phase, the instructor may utilize a market-based
approach to modify the course into something dramatically
different by the time it is submitted to formal approval.
This paper addresses a problem in the earlier stages of
course development: How can principles of rapid innovation
and design be applied to the beginning phase of planning
and designing a truly new course that cannot be based on
similar offerings elsewhere? Since the author is active on
social media and is part of a community interested in social
media marketing, an appealing approach was to draw on
that community for help. Reaching out to that community
would involve using another modern product innovation
tool, crowdsourcing (Howe 2006; Huberman, Romero, and
Wu 2009).
Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing, the act of sending out a request for help
with a problem or service or product innovation to a
diverse unaffiliated group (Howe 2006, 2008), evolved
from two major trends in service and product innovation:
(1) open innovation (Chesbrough 2003) and (2) user col-
laboration in innovation (von Hippel 2005), including the
open-source software movement (Lakhani 2003). Open
innovation stresses looking for ideas outside the organiza-
tion; as Chesbrough notes, even the largest corporations
cannot hire all the creative people. The user collaboration
literature illustrated a likely source of individuals to aid
innovation, users of an organization’s services or products.
An organization using crowdsourcing reaches out to indi-
viduals interested and/or skilled in a problem, service, or
product for assistance. There are many ways to reach out
to individuals and to manage such a process.
Estellés-Arolas and González-Ladrón-de-Guevara (2012)
set out to create an inclusive definition of crowdsourcing
through an analysis of the innovation literature. The result-
ing definition is:
Crowdsourcing is a ty pe of participative online activ-
ity in which an individual . . . [or] an institution . . .
proposes to a group of individuals of varying knowl-
edge, heterogeneity, and number, via a flexible open
call, the voluntary undertaking of a task. The under-
taking . . . always entails mutual benefit. The user
will receive the satisfaction of a given type of need,
be it economic, social recognition, self-esteem, or the
development of individual skills, while the crowd-
sourcer will obtain and utilize to their advantage . . .
what the user has brought to the venture.
An organization or individual needing the solution for a
problem or help in innovation reaches out to individuals
who may be users of a service or product produced by the
organization. Benefits to the organization may be sub-
stantial, while benefits to the individuals helping may be
largely intrinsic. This broad definition acknowledges that
crowdsourcing has multiple structures. Two common and
illustrative forms that crowdsourcing take are:
1. Crowdsourcing can be a contest. An open call is
made for a product design, new algorithm, or help
with a problem. A winner (or winners) is selected
and rewarded with monetary rewards and/or recog-
nition. ThreadlessTM runs a major clothing business
based on submitted T-shirt designs that are voted
on by potential customers; winners receive some
payment and recognition (Howe 2006). When
Threadless was initially launched, the only rewards
to designers were the recognition and a couple
of free T-shirts. InnocentiveTM runs contests for
design, algorithms, and innovation for major cor-
porations such as P&GTM; while TopCoderTM runs
programming contests for YahooTM, GoogleTM, and
others. Both Innocentive and TopCoder award the
winners cash prizes and recognition (Howe 2008).
2. Crowdsourcing can also take the form of ongo-
ing improvements and innovation by a dedicated
community of supporters, such as in open-source
software (Lakhani 2003; Lakhani and von Hippel
2002). Motivated communities advancing service
and product innovation have been documented by
von Hippel (2005) in disparate industries such as
scientific instruments, software, and extreme sports
equipment, driven by user enthusiasm or need
for service or product improvements. Well-known
examples of ongoing crowdsourcing with dedi-
cated communities include the computer operat-
ing system, Linux, and the online encyclopedia,
Wikipedia.
Wheeler (2007) uses the term “community-sourcing”
to describe ongoing community collaboration, guided
by an educational institution. He generally uses it in the
context of a group of universities collaborating, but allows
for individual involvement. This paper uses the term
“community-sourcing” to describe the course development
Fall 2013 227
process since it takes place in higher education, takes the
community ongoing approach, and deliberately draws on a
diverse expert community, in this case, a personal learning
network of the professor developing a course.
Personal Learning Network
A personal learning network, a community of individuals
of similar interests that can help one learn and keep current
in a field of interest, is important to a working professional
as well as to students in a knowledge economy (Richardson
and Mancabelli 2011). “Personal learning networks (‘PLN’)
are not new. We have long relied on . . . colleagues and
acquaintances to supplement our knowledge” (Warlick
2009, p. 13). “‘What can you do’ has been replaced by
‘What can you and your network connections do’” (Cross
2006, p. 18). The author of this paper realized the power of
a PLN when he relocated from Chicago to Hong Kong some
years ago. Daily commentaries on the bond and financial
futures markets were much harder to produce without daily
interaction with a network of floor traders, economists, and
analysts that the author had developed during a decade in
finance in Chicago.
With the Hong Kong experience in mind, the author
consciously worked to develop a community of followers
interested in social media marketing and innovation when
becoming involved in social media via Twitter and blogging
in 2008. Following advice from award-winning blogger and
Twitter participant Mark Schaefer, who later codified the
advice in a book titled The Tao of Twitter (Schaefer 2012), the
author deliberately followed and engaged online persons of
note in social media marketing (SMM) and innovation, and
reached out to their networks. Once the author made the
Social Media Marketing Magazine list of most-followed mar-
keting professors, he wrote articles and blogs for the online
magazine and expanded his network with the readership.
With a PLN for social media marketing already in place,
it was natural to draw on that community to communit y-
source a new course in SMM. Most of the rest of the article
will describe how a PLN and the principles of crowdsourcing
and open sourcing were employed to community-source a
new class.
COMMUNIT Y-SOURCING A GRANT
PROPOSAL FOR A NEW COURSE
In January 2011, the author received notice that the College
of Business and Economics was going to award four com-
petitive grants to develop hybrid courses—to be conducted
both in a classroom and online. This was an opportunity to
quickly launch a new course in Social Media Marketing, an
area of strong interest to the instructor and to students and
employers as well. Some at the college suspected that SMM
was a fad, but discussions with employers who visited cam-
pus and informal surveys of what students with marketing
internships had been assigned to work on the previous sum-
mer suggested a strong interest in SMM by employers and
students. Some differences in the perception of professors
and executives concerning what is important for marketing
students to study has been observed in the past (Aistrich,
Saghafi, and Sciglimpaglia 2006), but preparation for suc-
cess as marketing practitioners has been established as a
primary aim of marketing education (Wellman 2010).
Beyond the funding for course development, the hybrid
grant process was attractive because: (1) the proposed hybrid
model seemed an ideal way to deliver a SMM course and
(2) such a grant would lead to an automatic slot into the spe-
cial topics category without long discussions about whether
SMM was a fad. Preliminary key learning objectives for the
course were developed in consultation with marketing col-
leagues and practitioners. Students who have completed a
course in social media marketing will be able to:
 •Describehowsocialmediamarketingdiffers from
traditional e-commerce and how social media mar-
keting can complement e-commerce.
 •Categorizedifferentsocialmediabycommunication
style or audience.
 •Useavariety(ofdifferentcategories)ofsocialmedia
in a coordinated social campaign.
 •Forexample,usethe“bigve”—ablog,Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube—to promote a cause.
 •Assesshowtheoriesof(1)networksand(2)word-of-
mouth promotion suggest social media be employed
by firms.
 •Throughprojects,demonstrateeffectiveapplication
of different social media platforms.
In January, the author wrote an outline of such a course,
which is shown as Appendix A.
In the two months leading to the grant proposal dead-
line, five course topics were generated, separate sections
emphasizing personal and organizational use of social
media were created, and a couple of ideas for books to use
in the course were developed. The outline of Appendix A
clearly did not exhibit enough content or sufficient detail to
guide the grant proposal due in early March, and certainly
did not include enough content to derive a syllabus for a
semester undergraduate course to be delivered less than 12
months later.
As noted earlier, two standard approaches for quick
course help—finding other professors’ syllabi and review-
ing a textbook—were unsuccessful: a Google search found
only two terse Social Media Marketing syllabi aimed at
228 Marketing Education Review
MBA students and no undergraduate or graduate textbook.
(Only 11 months later, there was a new textbook on SMM
and a simple Google search for SMM undergraduate courses
yielded 10 interesting syllabi.) Realizing that a proposal and
syllabus was going to need to be created from a blank slate,
the author started reaching out on social media platforms,
primarily Twitter and a personal blog, for community-
sourcing. This paper describes the results of the online
community-sourcing effort, suggests ideas to make the
process more effective, and reflects on the nature of the
community-sourcing process.
An Online Community
According to Social Media Marketing Magazine, the author
of this paper is one of the 10 most followed marketing pro-
fessors in the world on Twitter (Huffman 2012). Based on
previous evidence about the power of an offline network to
advance career knowledge, the author deliberately sought to
build a social media community interested in evolving social
media marketing and innovation. The author set up accounts
on Facebook and LinkedIn, but the community-creation
effort was focused on two platforms: Twitter and a blog. With
a tight deadline for a grant proposal, it seemed natural to
reach out to the preexisting community for assistance. The
social media platform, Twitter, was used to send out multiple
requests to followers for suggestions, topics, and ideas for the
SMM course. The requests were sent both as direct messages
to targeted followers and open messages reaching out to the
entire community of Twitter followers.
It was vital to this effort that a network that was inter-
ested and expert in SMM had already been engaged. Even
though a community of Twitter followers involved in
social media marketing had been deliberately engaged, the
author was shocked by the quality of the suggestions and
the source of ideas. Of the list of 10 early key contributors
reconstructed from notes and correspondences, shown in
Table 1, it is interesting to note that
1. five of the ten were new to the author’s social
network—introduced by followers;
2. half of them were full-time professors, while the
others were consultants and industry people;
3. none of them had ever met the author face to face,
and;
4. three of the ten were located outside the United
States.
The enhanced course outline, using the suggestions from
the Twitter community, is shown in Appendix B. Note that
topics had increased to seven (reflecting assistance from
Robert Kozinets aka Twitter @Kozinets) and the projects
were more developed (thanks due to Elaine Young aka
@ElaineYoung). Appendix B is clearly an improved outline
overall. The proposal based on Appendix B was awarded a
grant for course development, which immediately put the
course on the fast track for a January 2012 launch.
The Community and Course Design
After the grant was awarded, the course outline used for the
successful grant proposal, Appendix B, was posted on the
author’s Web site and another series of Twitter requests for
ideas was broadcast, this time with links to the posted course
outline. The community conversation notably improved:
Both the number and quality of ideas increased on this wave
of Twitter requests. Encouraged by this response, the author
continued to update the posted course outline at regular
intervals. The outline changed continually as suggestions
and ideas continued to arrive. It became harder to pinpoint
the source of ideas since the increased conversation was
improving the authors’ own idea generation.
Table 1 comprises two panels. Panel A shows the 10
online persons (using their Twitter aliases) that most helped
in the first round of the effort, getting a quick grant pro-
posal together. Each of the 10 continued to be major con-
tributors throughout the course development process that
followed the award of the grant. As noted, the updated lists
helped increase the number of contributors significantly
in the development phase, so the second table should be
viewed more as a sample of 10 additional contributors:
many more online contributors helped in this phase of the
course development.
As is displayed in Table 1, the second phase of the course
creation process, the actual course development, continued
to draw ideas from a mixture of industry and education
contributors. The relative increase in the number of con-
sulting and industry executive contributors may be due to
the updated outlines making it easier for nonprofessors
to visualize the course development process and therefore
contribute to it.
COMMUNIT Y-SOURCING AND
INNOVATION RESEARCH
The improved collaboration from posting numerous
updates of the course outline for the community to view,
described in the previous section, is consistent with product
innovation research on the value of user input and facili-
tating market input for innovation. High-tech and service
Fall 2013 229
innovation research suggests that collaboration from the
user community is enhanced through the rapid-prototyping
of products and services (Thomke and von Hippel 2002)
or experimentation with targeted users (Thomke 2003).
Similarly, innovation literature on user-based software
development stresses getting Beta versions to users willing
to support development: Agile software development pro-
motes multiple development iterations, open collaboration,
and adaptability throughout the life cycle of a development
project (Highsmith and Cockburn 2001). Small stakeholder
teams, including users, make continual changes to the
software, then test it and change it. Extreme programming
maximizes stakeholder involvement by, among other prac-
tices, stressing test-driven development, continuous design
change and improvement, and small frequent releases (Beck
1999; Beck and Andres 2004).
The grant writing and course development processes
described in this paper employ social media to produce
faster innovation that involves stakeholders such as stu-
dents, other faculty, and industry consultants at an earlier
stage in the process. This social media–empowered devel-
opment is clearly consistent with the O’Keefe and Hamer
(2010) approach to curriculum development. The result-
ing development process is faster, iterative, and involves
“grounded” industry executives and consultants.
Community-Sourcing Details
As noted, although LinkedIn and Facebook also seem well
suited for community-sourcing a course due to the amount
of academic participation and the “group” functionality
available on those platforms, a blog and Twitter were the
primary social media platforms used in this example. After
the grant was awarded, a short description of the course,
its learning objections, and the course syllabus were posted
on the blog asking for comments. Multiple Twitter posts
(“tweets”), including links to the blog article, requested that
Twitter followers read the post and make suggestions on
the blog or by Twitter. Short suggestions on Twitter often
proved helpful, but it was the longer comments on the blog
site that really influenced the course and engaged the com-
munity in the course. In addition, blog conversations were
Table 1
An Illustrative Sample of Substantial Community Contributors
Contributor Previous/New Occupation Location Contribution
Panel A: Substantial Early Contribution
@dstevenwhite New Professor MA, United States Development—syllabus
@andressilvaa Previous Professor/consultant Chile eCRM, group mechanics
@Kozinets New Professor/author Canada Syllabus—Netnography
@ElaineYoung New Professor VT, United States Individual project
@markwschaefer Previous Consultant/author TN, United States Engagement, blog mechanics
@ckburgess Previous Marketing agencies NJ, United States Student engagement
@DelaneyKirk New Professor FL, United States Project help
@LinHumphrey New Doctoral candidate TX, United States Location services, Mobile
@PatrickStrother Previous Ad agency/professor MN, United States B2B versus B2C perspectives
@EeeGeee Previous SMM, education MA, United States Great REFERRALS
Panel B: Substantial Contribution (Sample)
@chuckmartin1 Previous Consultant MA, United States Using SM in class, Mobile
@michellegolden Previous Consultant/author MO, United States Professional uses, book
@alansee Previous Consultant OH, United States Great readings
@LinHumphrey New Doctoral candidate TX, United States Location services, Mobile
@CraigEYaris New SM agency NY, United States Book suggestions
@aboyer New Professor, entrepreneur WA, United States SMM + start-ups
@SandrinePromTep Previous Doctoral candidate Canada Engagement ideas
@mikefixs Previous Consultant/professor NY, United States Success metrics
@joebobhester Previous Professor/consultant NC, United States Class mechanics
@KentHuffman Previous Consultant/author TX, United States Readings
Notes: This is a sample of 20 major contributors to the effort; there were many others not listed. eCRM = electronic customer relationship manage-
ment; B2B = business-to-business; B2C = business-to-consumer; SMM = social media marketing; SM = social marketing.
230 Marketing Education Review
often followed up by phone or e-mail. However, Twitter
was integral to the entire campaign since it steered com-
munity members to the blog post and reminded them of
the ongoing effort.
Appendix C shows a sample tweet and excerpt from a
blog post after the grant was awarded and four sample tweets
and four shortened blog comments in response to those
posts. The initial blog and Twitter posts make more use of
explanation points and hyperbole than is usual in academic
endeavors since it is important to attract the attention of
the community. The blog post was updated every couple of
weeks to include new ideas; during that two-week period,
there would be at least 10 tweets, including a link to the
blog post. Even with the Twitter 140-character limit, there
were some good links and ideas in the four representative
tweets from the community. However, looking at the four
samples of blog comments, even though each comment
was shortened for Appendix C, it is clear that the format
welcomed more thoughtful analysis and interaction. Two
of the blog comments referred to comments from others.
This social media process was relatively simple and could
be easily replicated by other instructors using Twitter and a
blog, or LinkedIn or Facebook with those platforms’ group
functionality.
Why Did the PLN Contribute?
Why did members of this online community devote real
time and effort to developing ideas for the new course
and then freely share those ideas? Literature on online
collaboration and open-source software suggests that
voluntary contributors to innovation are motivated by
(1) the satisfaction from creation, (2) the honing of their
personal skills, and (3) the recognition within their col-
laborative community (Harhoff, Henkel, and von Hippel
2003; von Hippel 2005; Lakhani 2003). Messages (direct
tweets) were sent to the contributors listed in Table 1 and
several other contributors asking why they collaborated.
Four representative responses are entirely consistent with
the motivations suggested in the cited research on com-
munity innovation:
1. “My focus is on education . . . none other . . .
as much as I can help others . . . is important to
me . . .”
2. “Because we are a learning community!”
3. “You are part of our PLN [personal learning net-
work] and we like to help!”
4. “I was invested and very interested in the topic—
and got as much as I gave.”
Two of them actually mentioned a learning communit y
or PLN. The behaviors and explanations for participating
in the collaboration are consistent with the vision of a
PLN. The give and take of engagement in the community
enhances lifelong net worked learning. An article on per-
sonal learning networks states: “Learners become amplifiers
as they engage in reflective and knowledge-building activi-
ties, connect and reconnect what they learn, add value to
existing knowledge and ideas, and then reissue them back
into the network to be captured by others through their
PLNs. Working your PLN involves a great responsibility
on your part because you are almost certainly a part of
someone else’s network” (Warlick 2009, p. 16).
Community Benefits
The contributor who said, “I was invested and very inter-
ested in the topic—and got as much as I gave” summed
up the spirit of the community. In addition, however, the
author received thanks from several educators, some new
to the communit y, for posting the changing outlines on
his blog. Two professors have stated that the outlines were
a big help for the development of their own social media
courses, one in marketing and the other in journalism. This
is an insight into how learning communities function: the
outlines were posted to facilitate collaboration in a personal
course development effort, but the posted outlines then
aided other educators in their own course development
efforts. This illustrates community reciprocity in action.
Whether professors, businesspeople, consultants, students,
or simply online personalities interested in SMM issues, all
of the crowdsourcing participants were stakeholders in the
new social media marketing class.
The Final Course Design
Appendix D shows the final course outline, used to con-
struct a syllabus for the class. The contrast with the original
outline, or even the outline used in the grant proposal, is
dramatic. The outline is much more robust with perhaps
too much content. An additional student project to create
informal Webcasts on special topics was created in part to
cover some of the topics outside the limited class time.
Appendix E shows the evolution of course objectives during
community-sourcing. The author continues to receive inter-
esting ideas, often from consultants or industry executives,
on other specialized topics worthy of discussion in a social
media marketing course. The new course was offered in
spring 2012. It reached its maximum enrollment in the first
Fall 2013 231
four hours of class registration. Currently, a key challenge is
struggling to limit the scope and content of the course!
CONCLUSION
A recent paper suggested using iterative, experimental
innovation with users to refine new curriculum and keep
curriculum up to date (O’Keefe and Hamer 2010). This paper
shows how, again applying theories and best practices from
service and product innovation, the design and planning of
a new course can be enhanced using social media. Instruc-
tors should employ community-sourcing, crowdsourcing
within a dedicated personal learning network, during the
planning for a new course offering.
By posting a course outline and updating it with revi-
sions and new ideas suggested by an online community,
an iterative and experiential process drew other professors,
students, and businesspeople into the design process of a
new marketing course. The success of the grant proposal
and swift launch of the new course were facilitated by
the collaboration with an online communit y. These suc-
cessful results are consistent with the O’Keefe and Hamer
(2010) approach to curriculum development as well as the
literature on facilitating user collaboration for product and
organizational innovation (Lynn and Morone 1996; Ries
2011; Thomke and von Hippel 2002; von Hippel 2005) and
personal learning networks (Warlick 2009).
Further Research
This paper discussed theories and best practices from
service and product innovation, and illustrated how those
innovation theories and practices were applied in a single
course design and development. Further research should
focus on testing and replicating these results with a varied
sample of multiple curriculum initiatives. It would also be
interesting to examine:
 •Resultsofcurriculumorcoursedevelopmentwith
an online community specifically created to develop
business or marketing curriculum.
 •Curriculuminnovationresultsfromavarietyof
social media communities comprising different
mixes of business education stakeholders (e.g., stu-
dents, executives, alumni, other professors, adminis-
trators, parents).
 •Differencesininteractionandeffectivenessfrom
community-sourcing in different social media
networks, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
groups, Google+, and private networks.
 •Howthecommunity-sourcingprocessforacourse
differs by the degree of newness or innovation in
the course.
Application: How Instructors Can Use
Community-Sourcing
The example used to illustrate the principles of community-
sourcing a new course happened to be the hot topic of social
media marketing, but likely any new marketing course idea,
or even the development of a course not as new, would
benefit from the community-sourcing process. Twitter
and a blog, the social media platforms used in this exam-
ple, were chosen simply because they were the platforms
most actively used by the course instructor. The “group”
functionality of either LinkedIn or Facebook, or the mar-
keting forum “Elmar,” would actually seem ideally suited
for community-sourcing and may also benefit as more
marketing professors seem to be on those platforms than
Twitter. For these reasons, the author has started a LinkedIn
group (www.linkedin.com/groups/Teaching-Social-Media-
Marketing-Management-4360782/) for professors teaching
SMM as a forum to aid in the continuous improvement of
the course going forward.
Based on the author’s experience in community-sourcing
grant writing ideas and course development for the new
social media marketing course and supported by extensive
research on crowdsourcing, lead users, and personal learn-
ing net works, four steps are recommended to instructors
wishing to employ a communit y-sourcing process to
enhance course design and curriculum innovation:
1. Build a community that is a personal learning net-
work. Have a social media footprint in your areas of
interest. Focus at least some of your blog postings
and posts on other platforms to your professional
interests. Follow top people in the field on Twitter,
LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and so forth. Focus
on building a learning community well before you
have any real applications in mind: interacting with
the community will improve your thinking even
when a vital project is not pressing, and the art of
engagement needed to build a community is more
natural when it is not forced by a project deadline.
2. When you seek ideas, feedback, or help in your
community, target experts but also broadcast to the
entire community. This opportunity to draw on
the full community, and each member’s com-
munity, is a major reason for making the effort to
build the community. You will likely benefit from
input of people with whom you hadn’t previously
interacted.
3. Periodically remind the community of the project and
thank community members by name for their help as
232 Marketing Education Review
it is received. These reminders help keep a project
in the community mind, may give the contributors
some valued respect within the community, and
may create some implicit peer pressure within the
community for all to contribute.
4. Create a wiki- or a flexible online display to show or
demonstrate the work in progress, which will serve as
a prototype. Product and organizational innovation
research show that in creating a really innovative
solution, rapid prototyping (Thomke and von Hip-
pel 2002), usable models, and just-good-enough
designs (Ries 2011) help users contribute to an
innovation. Conversations and ideas for the new
SMM course surged after each new version of the
course outline was posted on the author’s blog.
Professors should build and maintain an online com-
munity that functions as a personal learning network to
advance lifelong learning objectives and enhance mastery
of their discipline or areas of interest. It is important to
converse with community members regularly and help
with their projects. Ultimately, a community-builder will
benefit. Do not wait for a need such as a grant request or
tight deadline for a new course to build a network/com-
munity. The community-sourcing process is illustrated in
Table 2 as a six-stage process.
An instructor should call on his or her online commu-
nity for such a project: To paraphrase an African proverb:
“It takes a community to create a new course.”
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Chesbrough, Henry W. (2003), “The Era of Open Innovation,”
MIT Sloan Management Review, 44 (3), 35–41.
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Working Example of Curriculum Development,” Marketing
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Estellés-Arolas, Enrique, and Fernando González-Ladrón-de-Gue-
vara (2012), “Towards an Integrated Crowdsourcing Defini-
tion,” Journal of Information Science, 38 (2), 189–200.
Ettlie, John E., William P. Bridges, and Robert D. O’Keefe (1984),
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Harhoff, Dietmar, Joachim Henkel, and Eric von Hippel (2003),
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Development: The Business of Innovation,” Computer, 34
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Howe, Jeff (2006), “The Rise of Crowdsourcing,” Wired
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Table 2
Six Stages to Community-Source a Course Design
Activity Network Use
Stage 1: Build PLN Use social media to expand and nurture a personal
learning network.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, LinkedIn or Facebook
groups, Forum such as Elmar.
Stage 2: Protoype Develop prototype: An initial course topics outline to
share and update.
Post on a blog or wiki.
Stage 3: Share Share course outline with PLN and solicit feedback. Elmar or other forums, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
groups.
Stage 4: Modify Modify outline. Acknowledge contributions. Blog or wiki.
Stage 5: Reiterate Share Modified outline with PLN and solicit feedback
(back to #3; loop until complete).
Elmar or other forums, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
groups.
Stage 6: Celebrate! Post final course outline. Thank PLN network and grow
network further.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, LinkedIn or Facebook
groups, Forum such as Elmar.
Note: PLN = personal learning network.
Fall 2013 233
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234 Marketing Education Review
APPENDIX A
Initial Course Outline (January 20, 2011)
Course Topics
1. Networking—what it means and how it is done.
2. Using the “Big Four” for personal campaign.
3. Measures of influence—Google Analytics, Klout, etc. What do they really measure? Do they really matter?
4. Organizational Applications of SMM [social media marketing]—social for business.
5. Setting organizational goals and tracking them.
Two Projects
Personal: Your service or voice (starts immediately)
1. Set up big four.
2. Use at least one other—Flickr, Foursquare, YouTube, etc.
3. Set goals for semester (with measures).
4. Periodic progress reports and goal modifications.
5. Final self-assessment.
Organizational assessment: An organization that volunteers to be a class project (start about four weeks into the course)
1. Four-person teams from class compete to come up with best plan for SMM.
2. Strategy and action plan for organization—written and presentation (videotaped and posted).
3. Best group presents to the organization (videotaped and posted).
Course Meetings
 •Earlyinsemesteronce-a-weeklivemeetingsinperson(someremotebyconferencing).
 •WeeklyscheduledTwitterdiscussion.
 •Facebookpostingsirregularly.
Course Information: Facebook Site
Readings
1. Online text comprising selected chapters from FlatWorld “Online Marketing” text and other readings.
2. One practitioner book such as SMM for Idiots.
Fall 2013 235
APPENDIX B
Course Outline 2 (May 15, 2011)
Course Topics
1. Networking—what it means and how it is done.
2. Networking vs. marketing: conflicts and synergy.
3. Using the “Big Four.”
4. Other important social media (presentations by student teams).
5. Measures of influence—Google analytics, Klout, etc. What do they really measure? Do they really matter?
6. Organizational applications of SMM [social media marketing].
7. Setting organizational goals and tracking them.
Two Projects
First major project: Your service or voice (starts immediately):
1. Set up big four.
2. Use at least one other—Flickr, Foursquare, YouTube, etc.
3. Set goals for semester (with measures).
4. Periodic progress reports and goal modifications.
5. Final self-assessment.
Second project: Organizational assessment—An organization that volunteers to be a class project (start about four weeks
into the course):
1. Four-person teams from class compete to come up with best plan for SMM.
2. Strategy and action plan for organization—written and presentation (videotaped and posted).
3. Best group presents to the organization (videotaped and posted).
Course Meetings
 •Earlyinsemesteronce-a-weeklivemeetingsinperson(someremotebyconferencing).
 •WeeklyscheduledTwitterdiscussion.
 •Facebookpostingsirregularly.
Course Information: Its Own Facebook Site
Readings
 •OnlinetextcomprisingselectedchaptersfromFlatWorld“OnlineMarketing”textandotherreadings.
 •OnepractitionerbooksuchasSMM for Idiots, SMM for Professionals, or SMM for the CEO.
236 Marketing Education Review
APPENDIX C
Selected Feedback from Blog Post and Twitter Campaign
Tweets (Twitter Posts—Ran Multiple Times)
[@ProfessorGary] PLEASE help me plan The Perfect #Social #Media #Marketing Course for Undergrads!! www.Link.
Thank you in advance!!!!
Blog Post (www.servicecocreation.com and www.SMM4Biz.com)
The Perfect Social Media Marketing Course!
Posted on March 15, 2011 by—[the author of this article]
I am putting together a proposal for a social media marketing [SMM] course to be taught as a hybrid—online and in
person. I have already benefited from great /generous help and suggestions from . . . [a list of Twitter participants]
and others from my online family. Of course, none of them are responsible for the oversights, errors, and silliness
evident in the tentative plan, which follows.
My preliminary thoughts on the SMM course follow. Please comment here or on Twitter @myTwitterName with
any corrections, suggestions or thoughts. . . .
[Continued, including tentative syllabus from Appendix B]
Sample Twitter Responses
chuckmartin1: Some thoughts: run class via Facebook, vs. Blackboard; have class Tweet live during class; have all on
laptops throughout class.
AlanSee: http://bit.ly/gnr4ag . . . will take you to some good material.
joebobhester: SmartBrief on Social Media http://bit.ly/NSM2z @sbosm & Social Media Today http://bit.ly/2C5gTF @
socialmedia2day 4 readings.
CraigEYaris: Believe it or not, SM Marketing for Dummies, and FB Marketing an Hour a Day, and FB for Dummies. Great
books.
Sample Blog Postings
(Note: The blog postings tended to be long, detailed, and extremely helpful. They were key to most of the community-
sourcing. However, Twitter was vital to steer the community to the blog.)
#1—March 15: First Sample Blog Comment: (Longtime Twitter friend—small marketing agency)
Professor, your course sounds really exciting. As many people know, education lacks real-world social media marketing
courses. This is such a brilliant idea to crowdsource professors.
As you probably already know, you’ve mentioned a few of the professor tweeps I absolutely admire and respect: @
dstevenwhite @chuckmartin1 @andressilvaa @AlanSee @joebobheste. Now having said that, I’ll give my suggestions for
your Social Media Marketing course.
Fall 2013 237
Suggestion:
Create teams of three to five students to visit local businesses (like a Pizza shop, dry cleaners, etc). The students will serve
as consultants to use social media to help market the local business. For example, using Facebook, the students can set
up a FB page and show the owner how to use it to distribute content (menus, promos, etc.), set up groups, etc. Basically,
use SM to help drive his business. After completion, the university should have a special evening/day of recognition for
the students and store owner.
. . . [Continues]
#2—March 16: Second Blog Comment Sample (professor at a large Midwestern university)
This looks great. I’m working on a course curriculum myself, but won’t really get going full speed on it till mid April.
I have a couple of thoughts you might find useful. Last fall I taught a four-credit capstone course in Strategic Commu-
nications Campaign planning at the University of Minnesota. I included a substantial amount of social media in the
course. The two things in the course I thought were most beneficial were:
1. Dealing with both B2B [business-to-business] and B2C [business-to-consumer] audiences. I had the students do
presentations for both, one of which was a major team project presented as the final. I had one of our own clients
for the major project and it gave the experience real meaning.
2. The second thing I did was use no textbook. I assigned readings based on the topic and also based on what I
thought was the state-of-the-art in thinking in those areas.
. . . . [More thoughts on his course]
Thanks for sharing this!
#3—This looks great and I will definitely be following your course’s progress. Quick thoughts:
 •Willstudentshaveavarietyofwaystomeasuresuccess?Forexample:Willoneofthegoalsstillbetogetpeople
into a sales or service funnel of some kind?
 •Willpersonalbranding/businessandorganizationalbrandingbeapartofthis?
 •Ireallylike[#2]’smentionofbothB2CandB2Bbecauseinsocialtheycanbequitesimilarorwildlydifferent
depending on what you’re marketing.
Again, best of luck with this and I will be following from afar.
#4—The course outline looks good . . . but one thing missing is location services (w/geo promotions) and social consump-
tion sharing. Think spotify, foodspotting, and soundtracking. Social recommendations can drive an implied endorse-
ment. Huge trend of sharing experiences and mobile apps are the intersection of mobile and social . . . [more good
suggestions].
238 Marketing Education Review
APPENDIX D
Final Course Outline (January 12, 2012)
Course Topics
1. Types of social media: blogs, microblogs, networking, media sharing, special interest.
2. The “Big Five”—Facebook (and Fan Page), Blog, Twitter, YouTube . . . and LinkedIn.
a. Other SM [social media] platforms—Flickr, Google+, Tumblr, Digg, etc. Other important social media and ben-
efits (presentations by students).
3. Word-of-mouth marketing and theory.
4. Niche marketing: the long tail.
5. Engagement: Building a community.
a. Social issues in online communities.
6. Creating CONTENT.
Organizational Application of Social Media
1. Traditional vs. new media; organic vs. amplified word of mouth.
a. Networking—what it means and how it is done; networking vs. marketing: conflicts and synergy.
2. Brand narrative, storytelling, and brand community.
3. Innovation: Wikinomics, lead users, and crowdsourcing.
a. Cocreation and prosumers.
b. Netnography and SM customer research.
c. Forecasting with social media data.
4. SMM [social media marketing] for intraorganizational communication and collaboration (and supply/distribution
chain).
5. Mobile marketing and location-based social media.
6. Successful and unsuccessful firm use of SMM.
a. Organizational applications of SMM: setting organizational goals and tracking them. Measures/metrics of
influence—Google Analytics, Klout, etc. What do they measure? Do they really matter?
b. ROI [return on investment] of social media efforts.
7. Selling, service, and social media—leads, pipeline, customer service, and CRM [customer relationship
management].
8. Developing an organizational social media plan—integrated marketing, C-S, internal.
a. Integrated with organizational marketing and strategy.
Workshops
1. Engagement and creating content.
2. Creating a great Fan Page.
3. Mobile marketing and location-based SMM.
4. Determining ROI of social media.
5. Benefits of social media clubs and groups.
6. Video-pods and presentations.
7. Using video.
Student Reports
1. Presenting pict ures: Flickr and its competitors.
2. Blogging on WordPress or micro-blogging on alternatives such as Tumblr.
Fall 2013 239
3. Google+, What’s happening, what’s coming. . . .
4. Location-based social media: Foursquare and its competitors.
5. Promoting content: StumbleUpon, DIGG, Technorati, Delicious, etc.
6. Influence measures: PeerIndex, Tweet Grader, Klout, etc.
7. Video—winning on YouTube, vimeo, blogs—merits of platforms and techniques.
8. Internal social media—Yammer, etc.
9. Syndicating a blog—B2Community, Triberr, etc.
10. Guerrilla marketing for small businesses with social media.
11. Forecasting with social media.
Projects
 •Individual use of SMM.
Individual: Execute a campaign for your passion—use the big 4/5 platforms + another.
Group: Help an author.
 •Organizational: Groups consult with an organization and suggest improvements to their SMM.
Class Presentations (Group)
 •Oneofthe“studentreports”postedasavideo-cast.
 •Contrastagoodbusinesssocialmediaefforttoanunsuccessfuleffortbyvideo-cast.
Other Grades
 •Weekly participation in D2L [Desire2Learn] discussion (Project work, Discussion comments, and suggestions on
other projects).
 •Weekly participation in FB group.
 •ParticipationandAttendance.
 •Quizzesonreadings.
240 Marketing Education Review
APPENDIX E
Learning Objectives
Learning Objectives for Social Media Marketing
Students who have completed SMM [social media marketing] should be able to:
Initially
 •Describehowsocialmediamarketingdiffers from traditional e-commerce and how social media marketing can
complement e-commerce.
 •Categorizedifferentsocialmediabycommunicationstyleoraudience.
 •Useavariety(ofdifferentcategories)ofsocialmediainacoordinatedsocialcampaign.
For example, use the “big four”—a blog, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—to promote a cause.
 •Assesshowtheoriesof(1)networksand(2)word-of-mouthpromotionsuggestsocialmediabeemployedbyrms.
 •Demonstratethroughprojectseffectiveapplicationofdifferentsocialmediaplatforms.
Additional in final outline
 •Examinetheeffectsofactivesocialmediaeffortsonanorganizationanditscustomersorstakeholders.
 •Describeotherpotentialbenetstoanorganizationfromsocialmediausageinadditiontocustomerengagement
(crowdsourcing for innovation, customer service, internal communication, etc.)
 •Assesswhichcategoriesofsocialmediaarelikelytobemostusefulforagivenorganizationalobjective.
 •Describetheethicalissuesofauthenticityandengagementinsocialmediacommunities.
 •ProposemetricsandROIobjectivesforanorganizationalapplicationofsocialmediamarketing.
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Social media are privileged vehicles to generate rich data created with unprecedented multi-faceted insights to drive faster ideation and commercialisation of client-centric innovations. The essence of data generated through social media is rooted in the connections and relationships it enables between firms and their stakeholders, and represents one of the greatest assets for data-driven innovation. As most of the firms are still experiencing and trailblazing in this matter, the current challenge is therefore to learn how to benefit from social media's potential for innovation purposes. In the last decade, research interest has increased towards understanding social media – innovation interactions. The reliance on the wisdom of the crowd in driving major business decisions and shaping society's way of life is now well acknowledged in academic and business literature. Social media is increasingly used as a tool to manage knowledge flows within and across organisation boundaries in the process of innovation. Yet, conceptualisation of social media and innovation interaction and a systematic review of how far the field has come remains providential. Therefore, through a systematic literature review we aim to identify research trends and gaps in the field, conceptualise current paradigmatic views and therein provide clear propositions to guide future research. Based on a systematic review, 111 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and found in EBSCO Host® and Scopus® databases are descriptively analysed, with results synthesized across current research trends. Findings suggest social media is seen as enabler and driver of innovation, with behavioural and resource based perspectives being the most popular theoretical lens used by researchers. The originality of the paper is rooted in the comprehensive search and systematic review of studies in the discourse, which have not been unified to date. Implications for advancement of knowledge are embedded in the purposefully proposed theoretical, contextual and methodological perspectives, providing future research directions for exploring social media capability in innovation management. Keywords Social media, Innovation management, Systematic literature review, Research propositions, Business perspective, Open innovation
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Business schools are under growing pressure to engage in significant programmatic reforms in light of the business community's call for web-savvy, problem-solving graduates. Even AACSB has gotten into the reformation act by recommending the adoption of a comprehensive collaboration learning strategy. To meet these and related challenges, many schools of business are turning to social media to provide learning opportunities at a time and place that is convenient to the student. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the growing possibilities for using social media to enhance learning outcomes and to outline strategies for implementing this revolutionary process throughout the management education community of practice.
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Teaching methods that have been considered “tried and true” are no longer working with today's active learners. Instructors of marketing, or indeed any field, must heed the call for continuous improvement and constant innovations in order to engage today's students. This paper examines the learning needs of the “digital millennial” or “NetGen” learner and reviews possible teaching innovations that can best address those needs.“Personally, I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”–Winston Churchill
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As demands increase for accountability in business education, marketing educators may find that input from employers on desirable skill sets will provide the needed information to assess their current curriculum and guide course and curriculum development. This paper describes the results of such a survey and offers suggestions for how its results may improve the demonstrable skills of graduate marketing students.
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Much research has been conducted regarding how to make marketing education more “relevant. “ This study addresses the fundamental question of the “ivory tower” premise. That is, to what extent do marketing educators fail to understand the “real” business world? In particular, the study compares the perceptions of educators and executives to ascertain if the two groups hold similar or divergent perceptions of the marketplace. Some gaps in perceptions were evident in areas of marketing, while on other areas the two groups agreed fully. Generally, educators and executives see issues in the same basic light, with only gradations in the strength of their positions on the various issues.
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Every company's ability to innovate depends on a process of experimentation whereby new products and services are created and existing ones improved. But the cost of experimentation often limits innovation. New technologies—including computer modeling and simulation—promise to lift that constraint by changing the economics of experimentation. Never before has it been so economically feasible to ask "what-if" questions and generate preliminary answers. These technologies amplify the impact of learning, paving the way for higher R&D performance and innovation and new ways of creating value for customers.In Experimentation Matters, Stefan Thomke argues that to unlock such potential, companies must not only understand the power of experimentation and new technologies, but also change their processes, organization, and management of innovation. He explains why experimentation is so critical to innovation, underscores the impact of new technologies, and outlines what managers must do to integrate them successfully. Drawing on a decade of research in multiple industries as diverse as automotive, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and banking, Thomke provides striking illustrations of how companies drive strategy and value creation by accommodating their organizations to new experimentation technologies.As in the outcome of any effective experiment, Thomke also reveals where that has not happened, and explains why. In particular, he shows managers how to: implement "front-loaded" innovation processes that identify potential problems before resources are committed and design decisions locked in; experiment and test frequently without overloading their organizations; integrate new technologies into the current innovation system; organize for rapid experimentation; fail early and often, but avoid wasteful "mistakes"; and manage projects as experiments.Pointing to the custom integrated circuit industry—a multibillion dollar market—Thomke also shows what happens when new experimentation technologies are taken beyond firm boundaries, thereby changing the way companies create new products and services with customers and suppliers. Probing and thoughtful, Experimentation Matters will influence how both executives and academics think about experimentation in general and innovation processes in particular. Experimentation has always been the engine of innovation, and Thomke reveals how it works today.
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Learning Networks is a step-by-step guide for creating globally connected schools that empower students and teachers to learn in modern ways. This guide is arranged by chapter, enabling readers to either work their way through the entire book or to focus on the specific topics addressed in a particular chapter. It can be used by individuals, small groups, or by an entire team to identify key points, raise questions for consideration, assess conditions in a particular school or district, and suggest steps that might be taken to create powerful personal and schoolwide learning networks. We thank you for your interest in this book, and we hope this guide is a useful tool in your efforts to create learning networks in your school or district.
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Product R&D at many companies is a major bottleneck. The difficulty is that fully understanding the needs of just a single customer can be an inexact and costly process - to say nothing of the needs of all customers or even groups of them. In the course of studying product innovation across many industries, authors Stefan Thomke and Eric von Hippel have found several companies that have adopted a completely new, seemingly counterintuitive, approach to product R&D. Essentially, these companies have abandoned their efforts to understand exactly what products their customers want; instead, they equip customers with tool kits to design and develop their own products. Doing so can create tremendous value, but capturing that value is hardly a simple or straightforward process. Not only must a company develop the right tool kit, but it must also revamp its business models and management mind-set. When companies relinquish a fundamental task-such as designing a new product-to customers, the two parties must redefine their relationship, and this change can be risky. With custom computer chips, for instance, companies traditionally captured value by both designing and manufacturing innovative products. With customers taking over more of the design, companies must now focus more on providing the best custom manufacturing. In other words, the location where value is created and is captured changes, and companies must reconfigure their business models accordingly. This article offers basic principles and lessons for industries undergoing such transformations.
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The disappointing performance of U.S. firms during the 1980s in technology-intensive, global markets (such as consumer electronics, office and factory automation, and semiconductor memories) has been widely attributed to a failure to continuously and incrementally improve products and processes. In "The Breakthrough Illusion", Florida and Kenney wrote that "The United States makes the breakthroughs, while other countries, especially Japan, provide the follow-through" on which competitive advantage is built. Gomory made a similar point. contrasting "revolutionary" innovations with "another, wholly different, less dramatic, and rather grueling process of innovation, which is far more critical to commercializing technology profitably...Its hallmark is incremental improvement, not breakthrough. It requires turning products over again and again, getting the new model out, starting work on an even newer one. This may all sound dull, but the achievements are exhilarating." In "The Machine that Changed the World", the most influential work on the subject of the 1980s, Womack, Jones, and Roos measured the competitive effects of this lack of attention to continuous incremental improvement throiugh a benchmarking study of the global automobile industry. Other studies reinforce this message: compared to their Japanese competitors, U.S. firms lagged in cost, quality, and speed; and in large measure, the problem stemmed from a relative........