Charity as a motivational factor for participation in user-driven innovation

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    Purpose: The aim of this explorative study was to discover the possibilities of connecting charity and ideation as a workable method for product and service innovation, and to introduce a preliminary new approach to participatory design: to donate money for charity work by participating in service innovation. The target for innovation was new sustainable services for the ageing population, and the possibilities for citizens to discuss societal problems in relation to sustainable development. Method: The study was carried out at the Open Web Lab of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Different cases of societal problems were presented to the participants for ideation and discussion. The participants were supposed to add their own ideas and experiences and expose them for general discussion. Every added idea or comment from the participants increased the amount of money targeted at charity work by 50 cents. Results & Discussion: Based on the qualitative data received and a content analysis of ideas, it can be estimated that this preliminary idea for a co-design approach suits well for discussion of societal problems and for solution ideation. A co-design activity of this kind offers a significant advantage compared with many other co-design methods: it provides a possibility of truly empowering people who, because of their genuine interest in the subject, will actively participate in the discussion. Furthermore, as the participants were informed of the fact that the amount of the individual charity donation was tied to the amount of comments and ideas of the person in question, they were amenable to attend the discussion for a relatively long period. The study approach was found to be beneficial also to that extent that it made it possible to produce a great many ideas and generated active discussion, which led to both new and refined ideas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-236
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • charity
    • service innovations
    • open innovations
    • co-design
    • user involvement


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