In a VHB: A published article called The Star Citizen Phenomenon & the “Ultimate Dream Management” Technique in Crowdfunding Assistant Prof. Jan-Philipp Ahrens, PhD student Baris Istipliler, Assistant Prof. Andrew Isaak, and Assistant Prof. Dennis Steiniger unveil a novel management technique – Ultimate Dream Management (UDM) – whose emergence is facilitated by recent developments in information systems-enabled contexts and which is particularly apt for steering and managing shared desires or dreams of a crowd, a topic of relevance also for the current debate on climate change.
In a mixed-methods approach, they leveraged a large dataset of the world’s most-funded reward-based crowdfunding project – Star Citizen – to zoom in on the process of social capital development as a success factor. Star Citizen is an online space opera simulation currently under development by the start-up Cloud Imperium Games (CIG). Although the release of the final product is yet to come, Star Citizen has already collected a quarter billion US dollars of crowdfunding. Ahrens et al. argue that the unparalleled crowdfunding success of Star Citizen was not a result of entropy or tail risk. Rather, it is the result of a meticulously planned and authentically executed new management technique that centers around getting people involved in continual social exchanges around a shared dream.
The researchers backed up their arguments with collected primary qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and broadened evidence with secondary qualitative data. Moreover, they built of a detailed quantitative database that tracks corporate actions and social exchanges on a daily basis and relates this to social capital and financial capital gains using time series analysis. This approach allowed the researchers to create meta-inferences on Star Citizen, which revealed both the critical role of meaningful continual human interactions that center around the shared dream as well as the nature of these interactions that follow the norms observable in friendships and partnerships and have less of a market-oriented character, which are some of the hallmarks of the new management technique UDM.
The “dream” of many – which could also be described as a strongly desired state or product – and the continual immersion into it constitutes in a radical way the center of the technique or as Steve Jobs coined it: “Your customers don’t care about you. They don’t care about your product or service. They care about themselves, their dreams, their goals. Now, they will care much more if you help them reach their goals, and to do that, you must understand their goals, as well as their needs and deepest desires.” According to the new management technique, managers should follow UDMs five themes of igniting, nurturing, (re-)understanding, sustaining and building on customer dreams through social exchange. In doing so, vital social capital is nurtured which the most critical success factor in reward-based crowdfunding, while the discourse and direction of the shared dream is managed and dream of the customers are very thoroughly understood, bringing demand and supply ever closer together.
In the quantitative part of the project, the Area Management researchers find that those social exchanges that reflect the five themes of UDM in fact drive crowdfunding success by harnessing time series regressions relying on daily data collected from the Star Citizen website, Factiva, Facebook and Twitter, and accordant computerized text analysis (LIWC), supplemented with internal data.
The principles and hallmarks of UDM can be generalized beyond crowdfunding to better understand settings where developing, managing, and keeping a large set of people motivated towards reaching a common goal is important. Examples of such settings are distributed work environments, open source development, or value co-creation with customers, but also IS-enabled social initiatives targeting strongly desired states, e.g. climate change or environment protection movements.
For the team of young researchers, it is the second VHB A publication within 12 months, a time-span during which their research was nominated or honoured with 6 peer reviewed awards. The publication can be openly accessed on researchgate via this URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/
or via Google-searching the keywords:
ultimate dream mangement researchgate