31 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2009 Last revised: 24 Dec 2014
Date Written: February 27, 2009
A detailed survey of 498 high tech SMEs in the Netherlands shows process innovation by user firms to be common practice. Fifty four percent of these relatively small firms reported developing entirely novel process equipment or software for their own use and/or modifying these at significant private expense. Twenty five percent of the user innovations in our sample were transferred to commercializing producer firms. Many transfers were made without any direct compensation, i.e. 48% were simply given away. Very importantly from the perspective of effective diffusion of user innovations, innovations with higher commercial potential for producers - and with more general appeal for users - are much more likely to be transferred. The pattern we document of frequent innovation by individual user firms at substantial cost, followed in many cases by voluntary, no-charge information spillovers to producers, suggests that open source economics may be a general pattern in the economy.
Keywords: User innovation, SME innovation, innovation transfer, innovation diffusion, innovation measurement, open source
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
de Jong, Jeroen P.J. and von Hippel, Eric A., Measuring User Innovation in Dutch High Tech SMEs: Frequency, Nature and Transfer to Producers (February 27, 2009). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4724-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1352496 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1352496