Using Enterprise Social Platforms in the Innovation Process

Simone Zanni, Kathrin Kirchner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


In environments where companies are increasingly quick to bring new products or services to the market, an internal communication tool capable of supporting this speed is becoming a popular practice. Enterprise Social Platforms (ESP) are highly interactive and allow individual users and communities to share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. This content can build the basis for the three different stages of an innovation process that can be defined as (1) ideation, (2) development/test and (3) launch phase. Studies investigating ESP application in the context of innovation are still scarce. This study aims to investigate how ESPs influence innovation in order to be able to answer the questions: In which stages of an innovation process are ESPs used? What are the challenges using the ESPs for innovation purposes? How these challenges can be overcome? The research applies a qualitative approach based on nine interviews with managers from companies all over the world, that in addition to using ESPs have a strong innovative spirit. The information gathering lasted two months between November and December 2019. The results show that six out of the nine interviewed companies use ESP for project management purposes throughout the innovation process. Three companies apply it to build a community in which employees can share best practices, interesting articles and addressing questions to increase the knowledge of the company during the ideation stage. Additionally, three interviewees talked about ESPs during the development/test stage. The main barriers were named as additional effort, fear of change and missing skills to use the ESP. In order to overcome these barriers, the research proposes four steps to manage an ESP in the ideation stage in a company: (1) to create online communities with clear innovation purposes, (2) to motivate employees to join and contribute to a community, (3) to nominate community ambassadors to manage each group and (4) to involve top management in the conversations. In future research, it should be investigated which types of innovation ESPs can support and how a strategic plan for implementing a platform for innovation looks like.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM)
EditorsA. Garcia-Perez , L. Simkin
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Publication date2020
Pages 975-981
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-912764-82-2, 978-191276481-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event21st European Conference on Knowledge Management - Virtual Conference, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Dec 20204 Dec 2020


Conference21st European Conference on Knowledge Management
LocationVirtual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Enterprise Social Platform
  • Innovation
  • Knowledge Management
  • Barriers


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