Comparing Business and Household Sector Innovation in Consumer Products: Findings from a Representative Study in the UK

29 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2010 Last revised: 10 Jun 2012

Eric A. von Hippel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Jeroen P.J. de Jong

Utrecht University - Utrecht University School of Economics

Steven Flowers

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 27, 2010

Abstract

In a first survey of its type, we measure development and modification of consumer products by product users in a representative sample of 1,173 UK consumers aged 18 and over. We estimate this previously unmeasured type of innovation to be quite large: 6.1% of UK consumers – nearly 2.9 million individuals - have engaged in consumer product innovation during the prior three years. In aggregate, consumers’ annual product development expenditures are more than 1.4 times larger than the annual consumer product R&D expenditures of all firms in the UK combined.
Consumers engage in many small projects which seem complementary to the innovation efforts of incumbent producers. Consumer innovators very seldom protect their innovations via intellectual property, and 17% diffuse to others. These results imply that official statistics partly miss relevant innovation activity, and that existing companies should reconfigure their product development systems to find and build upon prototypes developed by consumers.

Keywords: Household Innovation, Consumer Innovation, User Innovation

Suggested Citation

von Hippel, Eric A. and de Jong, Jeroen P.J. and Flowers, Steven, Comparing Business and Household Sector Innovation in Consumer Products: Findings from a Representative Study in the UK (September 27, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1683503 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1683503

Eric Von Hippel (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E62-455
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-7155 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

Jeroen P.J. De Jong

Utrecht University - Utrecht University School of Economics ( email )

Kriekenpitplein 21-22
Adam Smith Building
Utrecht, +31 30 253 7373 3584 EC
Netherlands

Steven Flowers

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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