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Unlocking the power of big data in new product development

Zhan, Yuanzhu; Tan, Kim Hua; Tse, Yina; Li, Ying Kei


Yuanzhu Zhan

Professor of Operations and Innovation Management

Yina Tse

Ying Kei Li


This study explores how big data can be used to enable customers to express unrecognised needs. By acquiring this information, managers can gain opportunities to develop customer-centred products. Big data can be defined as multimedia-rich and interactive low-cost information resulting from mass communication. It offers customers a better understanding of new products and provides new, simplified modes of large-scale interaction between customers and firms. Although previous studies have pointed out that firms can better understand customers’ preferences and needs by leveraging different types of available data, the situation is evolving, with increasing application of big data analytics for product development, operations and supply chain management. In order to utilise the customer information available from big data to a larger extent, managers need to identify how to establish a customer-involving environment that encourages customers to share their ideas with managers, contribute their know-how, fiddle around with new products, and express their actual preferences. We investigate a new product development project at an electronics company, STE, and describe how big data is used to connect to, interact with and involve customers in new product development in practice. Our findings reveal that big data can offer customer involvement so as to provide valuable input for developing new products. In this paper, we introduce a customer involvement approach as a new means of coming up with customer-centred new product development.


Zhan, Y., Tan, K. H., Tse, Y., & Li, Y. K. (2018). Unlocking the power of big data in new product development. Annals of Operations Research, 270(1-2), 577-595.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 9, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 30, 2016
Publication Date 2018-11
Deposit Date Feb 9, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 9, 2017
Journal Annals of Operations Research
Print ISSN 0254-5330
Electronic ISSN 1572-9338
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 270
Issue 1-2
Pages 577-595
Keywords Big data; Customer involvement; New product development; Case study
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via


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