Innovation is rapidly becoming democratised. Users, aided by improvements in computer and communications technology, increasingly can develop their own new products and services. These innovating users - both individuals and firms - often freely share their innovations with others, creating user-innovation communities and a rich intellectual commons. In Democratizing Innovation, Eric von Hippel looks closely at this emerging user-centred innovation system. He explains why and when users find it profitable to develop new products and services for themselves, and why it often pays users to reveal their innovations freely for the use of all. The trend toward democratised innovation can be seen in software and information products - most notably in the free and open-source software movement - but also in physical products. Von Hippel's many examples of user innovation in action range from surgical equipment to surfboards to software security features. He shows that product and service development is concentrated among lead users, who are ahead on marketplace trends and whose innovations are often commercially attractive. processes and systematically seek out innovations developed by users. He points to businesses--the custom semiconductor industry is one example - that have learned to assist user-innovators by providing them with toolkits for developing new products. User innovation has a positive impact on social welfare, and von Hippel proposes that government policies, including R&D subsidies and tax credits, should be realigned to eliminate biases against it. The goal of a democratised user-centred innovation system, says von Hippel, is well worth striving for. An electronic version of this book is available under a Creative Commons license.
Eric Von Hippel is Professor of Management of Innovation and Head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is the author of "The Sources of Innovation".
NEWS & OPINION: Some eye candy.
Posted April 26, 2006, 1:45 PM with category of Management & Workplace CultureJust wanted to let you know that the new ChangeThis manifestos are up. Here's some info: Manifesto 1 The Simplicity Cycle By Dan Ward Dan Ward succinctly shows us that increased complexity does not inherently equal increased goodness and instructs us on how to walk that fine line while still innovating. Check it out. Read more
NEWS & OPINION: This book needs more love
Posted May 25, 2005, 2:44 PM with category of Innovation & CreativityI have not seen many talking about Eric Von Hippel's Democratizing Innovation. For all of you who believe that citizens are rising up to take back control, you need to check this out. If you are in business, you need to understand that your customers are probably modifying your products to work better for them. Read more
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