Netnography in the Food Industry

Netnography in the Food Industry: How the German Supplier for Flavors and Scents Symrise Made Use of Online Community Discussions as a Source of Innovation

Johann Füller and Julia Jonas
HYVE, Germany

“The Internet is growing and with it are the number of online communities and online community members. There is basically no topic that is not discussed in a forum or blog somewhere out there in the World Wide Web. In particular, those users that show high involvement in a product category meet in their community, their tribe, their ‘hood’, to talk about their shared interest. Members of online communities and forums discuss the products they love and hate, they exchange experiences and think about new developments and trends – together, they even try to find solutions for their unsolved problems and proudly present how they managed to solve a problem, sometimes with their self-made product modifications or ideas for new products. By doing so, these users contribute significantly to innovations as their discussions serve as a great source of information and knowledge for companies worldwide.”

The Book

This book is based on the findings, issues and questions related to an ongoing decade-old research project named The Discontinuous Innovation Lab (DI-Lab). The research project focuses on discontinuous innovation in more than thirteen countries, most of which are European, and provides useful insights into its different challenges.
It also raises several questions related to the subject, some of which are: How do firms pick up weak signals on emerging - and possibly radically different - innovation? What should firms do when these weak signals hit their mainstream process? What are the criteria for allocating resources to a strategic innovation project? What actions should firms take to avoid being left out by the corporate immune system? And how should firms organize projects that often break existing rules and require new rules to be created?
This book attempts to provide answers to the above-mentioned questions by gathering information from the research project and also from firms that have tried exploring various ideas, models and insights to tackle discontinuous innovation. Written in a simple and accessible manner, this book will be of interest to both practitioners and academics alike.