Customer care employees (CCEs) are an excellent source of ideas for new and enhanced services for customers. By serving many customers, CCEs have the ability to see patterns in unserved and underserved needs. By being inside rather than external to the firm, CCEs have the ability to offer suggestions that build on existing capabilities, which result in ideas that are more easily implementable. There is a long history of research and practice for soliciting suggestions from employees, but little of this work has described how CCEs can be organized into a temporary online crowd to cocreate innovative ideas.
Multinational companies increasingly rely upon the work of virtual teams to manage their global intellectual assets and encourage innovation. Spanning functional, geographical and corporate boundaries, virtual team members work together on various projects but are based in different locations nationwide or worldwide.
Organizational, economic, and technology forces are encouraging organizations to experiment with new ways to develop their strategic priorities (Chesbrough & Appleyard, 2007). One such new approach is Open Strategy (OS), an approach that increasingly relies on the use of online digital platforms. OS refers to the process by which an organization’s strategy for the future is developed in a planned or inadvertent manner with more transparency for all stakeholders and/or inclusion of different stakeholders compared to conventional strategy-making processes (Hautz et al., 2017; Mack & Szulanski, 2017; Whittington et al., 2011).