Social Media Monitoring as a Tool for the Development of Disruptive Innovations
Authors: Andreas Keinath, Roman Vilimek
Abstract: Understanding how electric vehicles (EVs) are driven in the real world has massively advanced with the implementation of the MINI E and BMW ActiveE field trials. The results of these studies served as a key learning project for the development of the BMW i3, the first purpose-designed EV produced by the BMW Group. Especially in the early phases of the fields trial in 2009, the design of user research and analysis methods posed a challenge as it was unclear how users would react to an EV. As with all disruptive innovations, the collection of immediate and unbiased feedback as well as long-term feedback was required to separate first-contact phenomena from permanent effects. Our research partners from academia therefore established a research schedule with repeated face-to-face interviews and diaries. In order to make sure that the questions asked also sufficiently reflect the customers’ everyday life with the EV, social media monitoring was established as a means to participate in usual driving and charging experiences and to support the development of the methods tool set. This approach proved to be very fruitful as early tendencies in customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction were identified and later on systematically reviewed with quantitative methods. Several examples of relevant findings in the MINI E field trial are presented and social media monitoring is discussed as a tool for customer feedback in the development chain. Presented as a case study for the development of electric vehicles, the data basis for this discussion are 2242 Facebook and relevant blog comments of US MINI E users between April 2009 and October 2011.
Keywords: Electric Vehicle, Electromobility, MINI E, Field Study, Social Media
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