Needmining: Designing Digital Support to Elicit Needs from Social Media

01/14/2021
by   Niklas Kühl, et al.
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Today's businesses face a high pressure to innovate in order to succeed in highly competitive markets. Successful innovations, though, typically require the identification and analysis of customer needs. While traditional, established need elicitation methods are time-proven and have demonstrated their capabilities to deliver valuable insights, they lack automation and scalability and, thus, are expensive and time-consuming. In this article, we propose an approach to automatically identify and quantify customer needs by utilizing a novel data source: Users voluntarily and publicly expose information about themselves via social media, as for instance Facebook or Twitter. These posts may contain valuable information about the needs, wants, and demands of their authors. We apply a Design Science Research (DSR) methodology to add design knowledge and artifacts for the digitalization of innovation processes, in particular to provide digital support for the elicitation of customer needs. We want to investigate whether automated, speedy, and scalable need elicitation from social media is feasible. We concentrate on Twitter as a data source and on e-mobility as an application domain. In a first design cycle we conceive, implement and evaluate a method to demonstrate the feasibility of identifying those social media posts that actually express customer needs. In a second cycle, we build on this artifact to additionally quantify the need information elicited, and prove its feasibility. Third, we integrate both developed methods into an end-user software artifact and test usability in an industrial use case. Thus, we add new methods for need elicitation to the body of knowledge, and introduce concrete tooling for innovation management in practice.

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