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User-driven innovation in a construction material supply network

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Purpose ‐ User-driven innovation (UDI) has been proven to successfully increase the value of products and services in single companies with direct linkages to the end-user. The construction material industry often has no direct linkages to the end-user, due to supply networks through builder merchants. Moreover, a lack of user knowledge is common in such networks, and companies rarely have explicit knowledge on how their products and services are in fact used and valued by their end-users. Thus, it is clear that UDI is not directly applicable to the construction material industry without further developments. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that a network perspective is essential when adapting and implementing UDI in the construction material industry and to let the advantages of doing so surface. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The research design includes a number of different approaches and types of interaction between the researchers and industry. Additionally, an extensive literature review on UDI is carried out to identify variables necessary for successful adaptation to a network perspective. Findings ‐ The conclusion of this research validates that a network approach to adapting UDI in the construction material industry is a precondition for a successful innovation journey. In addition, it was concluded that by adapting the network perspective new value-adding potentials became visible, which could have a huge impact on innovation, effectiveness, efficiency, etc. in the construction material industry. Originality/value ‐ The paper adds to the body of knowledge on how to implement UDI in a supply network by developing a framework for such an innovation process. The framework has its outset in any given generic new product development model with a logical sequence of steps. However, the framework is further developed into defining the networks activities, the internal activities, and the user-oriented activities needed.
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Keywords: Construction material industry; Construction materials; Customers; Network; User satisfaction; User-driven innovation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 11 October 2011

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