How social media can help businesses get ahead

Scientists from RMIT University are helping businesses across Europe and Australia harness the power of social media to become more innovative in a competitive market.

“Social media will help businesses develop innovations and promote novelties faster, with a competitive advantage,” says Professor Anne-Laure Mention, Director of the Enabling Capability Platform for Global Business Innovation at RMIT University.

With colleagues from Sydney, Geneva, and Luxembourg, Anne-Laure’s team is analysing the use of social media for open innovation practices in businesses around the world.

“We’re looking at the types of social media organisations use, and to what extent they support the openness of the innovation process,” Anne-Laure says.

This will lead to a set of recommendations and tools for managers, so they can approach social media in an evidence-based fashion.

Businesses already use social media to connect with customers, getting their input on new products or features. But there’s also scope to connect with suppliers, government bodies and research organisations, according to Anne-Laure.

She says social media can be used to crowdsource and connect ideas, connect R&D initiatives, seek independent expert advice, and more.

Her work focuses on open innovation—using external knowledge to develop in-house novelties and find new paths to the market through spin-offs, alliances, or joint ventures.

“We explore public social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn, proprietary solutions like IBM, and innovation intermediary platforms such as InnoCentive and NineSigma. The latter are like a dating system,” Anne-Laure says.

“You could be developing a material for a specific industry, and at the same time it could be applicable in another industry. You can use social media platforms to find links between the two.”

For more information:

RMIT University Research & Innovation
James Giggacher
+61 03 9925 4143