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Abstract

The following contribution describes how an E-collaboration platform may be used within new product development. In order to develop a new dairy product (a yoghurt dessert), a leading Austrian dairy co-operated with representatives from the Austrian University of Natural Resources and Applied Live Sciences Vienna and other experts by use of a specific E-collaboration platform. The main aim of the project was the preparation of innovative product concepts. All necessary data and documents concerning consumer behaviour, market trends, product features etc. were distributed via a closed E-collaboration platform. The participants worked together for about half a year; however, only two personal meetings were necessary, all other communication processes (also group discussions) were done via the E-collaboration platform. It was possible to simultaneously communicate and co-operate even though the participants were located in Vienna, Upper Austria and Italy (South Tyrol). In the end a new product could be developed which was launched in one of the big three Austria supermarket chains in 2004. It could be proven that the state of the art in new product development is absolutely compatible with the usage of information technology for communication and knowledge transfer purposes; however, confidentiality and trust are absolutely indispensable for the success of such a project.

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