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Automotive crowdsourcing

Problem Statement

Among innovation experts crowdsourcing is considered to be a highly cost effective manner for businesses to connect with their customers, identify new design concepts and outsource work. Crowdsourcing can be particularly effective in markets which are undergoing rapid technological and/or cultural change, as is the case currently with the automotive industry. Crowdsourcing is also a powerful tool for enhancing customer experience due to the natural link which it provides to the customer base and due to the efficient means it provides for identifying existing and future customer expectations. Despite the current business environment for automotive products which is characterised by rapid changes in the form of hybrid, electrical and autonomous vehicles, no crowdsourcing models have yet been developed for specific use by the automotive industry. The proposed research will thus investigate the joint questions of how crowdsourcing can support new product development in the automotive industry and how it can be used by the industry as a platform for enhancing customer experience and customer loyalty.

Programme of work

  • Literature review of crowdsourcing models and best practice.
  • Literature review of new product development models and service support models and best practice.
  • Selection of the most appropriate crowdsourcing model(s) which can be deployed by automotive brands.
  • Identification of the process points where crowdsourcing can be deployed.
  • Development of criteria for building automotive crowdsourcing platforms with focus on issues of customer experience and customer loyalty.
  • Development and testing of a prototype design-led crowdsourcing model for automotive brands.
  • Final reporting

Value of the research both commercial and academic

Recent research suggests the existence of four elementary forms of crowdsourcing which involve substantially different policies in terms of information access, decision making and underlying business model. Unfortunately none of these forms of co-design have yet been attempted by an automotive brand. Systematic review of the opportunities, and prototype portal testing, would therefore prove valuable towards clarifying where the crowdsourcing opportunities exist in the automotive industry. Automotive brands involve a large number of activities in areas such as new product development, dealer network services and corporate social responsibility which could potentially benefit from crowdsourcing. The new research would extend the knowledge of the issues involved in crowdsourcing and would be expected to produce important clarifications regarding how, when and why such approaches might be applied by automotive brands. Further, the research would develop new evidence of the ability of crowdsourcing techniques to enhance customer experience and deepen customer loyalty. Finally, the development and testing of a prototype automotive platform will provide an important “case history” which could later be extended into a formal corporate tool.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.