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July 25, 2008

Sketching in Hardware Day 1: Eric von Hippel

Democratizing Innovation

change from traditional, manufacturer-centered innovation paradigm to user-centered (democratized) innovation paradigm because manufacturers need a guaranteed market, so lead users go ahead

lead users solve their own problems, which is actually what has historically happened in medicine (John Gibbon, inventor of the heart-lung machine)

survey of historic development by users of major new innovations - who created those major developments? 77% built by users, not large manufacturers

User innovations don't look like "products" to manufacturers - example: radioimmunassay system, or circular irrigation system for agriculture

users develop functionally novel innovations; manufacturers develop dimension of merit improvements; ie, making existing solutions more efficient

large fractions of dedicated, enthusiastic users innovate

first one user innovates, then they form [sociations]

60% of products for kids are start-ups founded by users - ie, jogging strollers

Internet is enabling individual user innovators to join into collaboratives - increasingly powerful competitors to manufacturer-based design

ex: Lego Mindstorms and its user base

user collaboratives can out-compete producers in design - there are more of them and they share with each other, so they can cover more of the design space as compared to a few manufacturers who each hive off their own potentially sub-optimal solutions

so what about products like pharmaceuticals and GPS? none of us is going to build a satellite in our garage -- however, those problems can be solved by individuals cooperating if they take a different tack [this is leaning a bit too libertarian to me...is education one of those things we could all just do ourselves? what about people who need to be paid? we're getting into the free labor problem] - like Skyhook and wardriving

differences between individual lead user innovation and groups of people who come together to make open source solutions of existing corporate problem

Posted by egoodman at July 25, 2008 12:00 PM


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