GRA 6440 User-driven Marketing Innovations


GRA 6440 User-driven Marketing Innovations

Responsible for the course
Fred Selnes

Department of Marketing

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

It has been a predominant view in marketing and management practice alike that firms are the drivers of innovation, mostly by providing new or improving existing products or services. However, more recently, researchers have shown that users are often the source of innovation. Beginning in the late 70’s, scholars presented an actual example, the so called “lead user” who becomes innovative due to a strong personal need for a product that is not provided by current market offering. Next to these rare lead users, more “ordinary users” have also begun to innovate. One central explanation for this trend is advances in communication and manufacturing technologies. The rise of the internet in the 1990’s as a new way to communicate and collaborate, and as a source for technical knowledge, has tremendously lowered the barriers for ordinary users to engage in innovative behavior and resulted in a remarkable amount of time and money invested in innovation by these users.

Marketing innovation is about developing and implementing new concepts relating to products, services, communication, pricing or distribution that will have a major impact on customer behavior and market performance. The ongoing digitalization of markets and marketing provides vast opportunities, and has accentuated the need for companies to re-invent their marketing programs. With the digitalization companies now have access to new sources of data and new opportunities for involving customers and other stakeholders in the innovation processes.

In this course, we will examine marketing innovation from the past to present. We will jointly find answers to questions such as “Why is user-driven innovation important?”, “What is marketing innovation and why is it important?” “What motivates companies to engage in user-driven marketing innovation?”, “How should companies organize and manage their development and implementation of marketing innovations?”

Learning outcome
The course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the topic of marketing innovation and hands-on experience with real marketing innovations. The course will document the distinctness of marketing innovation as opposed to other types of innovation, and it will review, evaluate and critique several subthemes. You will work with a real marketing innovation project in a team with other students and in close collaboration with a company and/or an advertising agency. More in detail, the course shall give you:

· Overview of trends driving opportunities and challenges in marketing innovation
· See distinct differences of user-driven and firm-driven innovation.
· Recognize what drives users to become innovative and how individual (self-related) and collective (others-related) reasons differ.
· Understand how firms can interact with their own innovating users (their customers) and how firms can even interact with users beyond their own customer base (“external users”).
· Understanding of managerial challenges in organizing marketing innovation
· In depth understanding of creativity and the marketing innovation process
· Ability to collect, analyze and use market and customer data in marketing innovation
· Ability to design and lead marketing innovation teams


    All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

    Compulsory reading

    Collection of articles:
    Selected articles from e.g., Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Management Science, MIT Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, Harvard Business Review, as well as a selection of book chapters.

    During the course there may be hand-outs and other material on additional topics relevant for the course and the examination.

    Recommended reading

    Course outline
    The course is divided into 5 sections
    (1) Marketing innovation theories and trends.
    (2) Managing innovation development and implementation processes
    (3) Creativity in marketing innovation
    (4) Marketing research in marketing innovation
    (5) Designing an leading marketing innovation teams

    A detailed schedule with dates will be distributed during the first meeting.

    Computer-based tools
    Not applicable

    Learning process and workload
    A course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of 160-180 hours. This course is very interactive allowing you to develop a common understanding of all concepts. Discussions are structured and moderated by changing student discussion leaders. This requires that everyone has prepared the relevant materials in advance of each session. Please devote significant time to do so and come prepared! In class, we use three different kinds of materials: (1) academic papers, (2) managerial papers, and (3) case studies. To prepare the sessions in a structured way, I provide you with a number of questions. Next to the weekly meetings, you need to meet with your work group before each session to share your ideas about the material.

    If you have to miss class on a particular day, it is your responsibility to get notes from a classmate. Let me know as soon as possible if you have to miss a class. During the semester, if you experience any problem(s) with the class or any of the classmates I expect you to report any problem(s) that you are not able to resolve yourself to me as soon as possible. In this course class attendance is mandatory. Therefore, unexcused absence will result in a lower participation grade.

    The course grade will be based on the following activities and weights:
    40 % - Class participation, including written comments.
    40 % - Term paper (8-10 pages) (Marketing innovation project)
    20 % - Project presentation (Marketing innovation project)

    For determining your course participation, I will evaluate your class participation in every session.
    For fulfilling the written assignment, you will need to conduct a real marketing innovation project. We will assist in connecting student groups to companies or ad-agencies. The last grade component is your participation and discussion of the group project.

    Form of assessment Weight Group size
    Class participation 40% Individual
    Term paper 40% Optional (individual or group of max 3 students)
    Presentation 20% Individual

    Specific information regarding student assessment will be provided in class. This information may be relevant to requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several components of the overall assessment. This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded using points on a scale from 0-100. The final grade for the course is based on the aggregated mark of the course components. Each component is weighted as detailed in the course description. Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the points system and the mapping scale in the student portal @bi. Candidates may be called in for an oral hearing as a verification/control of written assignments.

    Examination code(s)
    GRA 64401 continuous assessment accounts for100 % of the final grade in the course GRA 6440.

    Examination support materials
    Not applicable
    Permitted examination support materials for written examinations are detailed under examination information in the student portal @bi. The section on support materials and the use of calculators and dictionaries should be paid special attention to.

    Re-sit examination
    It is only possible to retake an examination when the course is next taught. The assessment in some courses is based on more than one exam code. Where this is the case, you may retake only the assessed components of one of these exam codes. All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee. Please note that you need to retake the latest version of the course with updated course literature and assessment. Please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with the latest course description.

    Additional information
    Honour code. Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and are values that are integral to BI's honour code system. Students are responsible for familiarising themselves with the honour code system, to which the faculty is deeply committed. Any violation of the honour code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for academic misconduct. Issues of academic integrity are taken seriously by everyone associated with the programmes at BI and are at the heart of the honour code. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honour code, please ask. The learning platform itslearning is used in the teaching of all courses at BI. All students are expected to make use of itslearning.