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Companies encouraged to tap into the innovation potential of social media

“Social media opens up opportunities for businesses that are not yet fully understood, especially in a B2B context,” claims MSc (Tech) Jari Jussila. His dissertation explores how B2B companies can tap into this potential to drive innovation.
Jari Jussila (36) works as a Project Manager at the Department of Information Management and Logistics of TUT.
Jari Jussila (36) works as a Project Manager at the Department of Information Management and Logistics of TUT.

Several studies have demonstrated that Finland is lagging behind many other countries in the implementation of digital technologies. For example, a ranking of 50 countries published in the Harvard Business Review places Finland among countries that are losing momentum in their transition to a digital economy. In the 2015 Digibarometer Finland ranks fifth out of 22 countries.

“The situation is largely the same in terms of social media: Finnish companies have been slow on the implementation of social media, and other countries are steaming ahead,” Jari Jussila says.

Jussila’s dissertation examines how business-to-business (B2B) companies use social media and how novel collaborative web tools and approaches can open up new opportunities for innovation. Jussila identified a number of benefits associated with a strong social media presence.  

“For example, multiple external stakeholders, such as customers and collaboration partners, have valuable innovation-related knowledge about companies and their products. New web and social media tools can significantly increase the use of distributed knowledge both within and outside company borders,” he says.

Social media can also be used to shorten product development cycles.  

“Product drawings and comments are conventionally sent between companies and customers by email over and over again until all the necessary changes have been made, whereas social media offers them a platform for real-time collaboration and saves conversations for later reference.”

Besides saving time, companies gain first-hand insights into the wants and needs of their customers.

Why, then, are Finnish B2B companies wary of adopting social media?  

According to Jussila, the reason is often a limited understanding of the potential benefits. 

“The implementation of new tools requires a shift in conventional thinking. Customers have traditionally been presented with a finished product, but social media allows them to get directly involved in the product development process. The old way of doing things may be deeply embedded in the company culture and is therefore difficult to change. Issues with information security were also identified as an obstacle to the use of social media.”   

Jussila encourages companies to actively try out social media channels. He has developed the Social Customer Learning model, which helps researchers and managers identify and evaluate different social media approaches in business-to-business customer interface and innovation.

Public defence of a doctoral dissertation on Friday, 6 November

The doctoral dissertation of MSc (Tech) Jari Jussila in the field of information and knowledge management titled “Social Media in Business-to-Business Companies’ Innovation” (Sosiaalinen media business-to-business-yrityksien innovaatiotoiminnassa) will be publicly examined in the Faculty of Business and Built Environment at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in room RG202 in the Rakennustalo building (address: Korkeakoulunkatu 5, Tampere, Finland) on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 12:00.

The opponents will be Professor Andrea Back (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland) and Professor Anna Ståhlbröst (Luleå University of Technology, Sweden). Professor Hannu Kärkkäinen from the Department of Information Management and Logistics of TUT will act as Chairman.

Further information: Jari Jussila, tel. +358  40 717 8345, jari.j.jussila (at) tut.fi

The dissertation is available online at: http://URN.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-15-3621-2

News submitted by: Anna Naukkarinen
News updated by: Tuuli Laukkanen
Keywords: science and research, dissertation, social media, b2b, innovation