Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

User Community vs. Producer Innovation Development Efficiency: A First Empirical Study

37 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2011 Last revised: 24 Dec 2014

Christoph Hienerth

Copenhagen Business School

Eric A. von Hippel

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

Morten Berg Jensen

University of Aarhus - School of Business and Social Sciences

Date Written: June 1, 2013

Abstract

In this paper we report upon a first empirical exploration of the relative efficiency of innovation development by product users vs. product producers. In a study of over 50 years of product innovation in the whitewater kayaking field, we find users in aggregate were approximately 3X more efficient at developing important kayaking product innovations than were producers in aggregate. We speculate that this result is driven by what we term “efficiencies of scope” in problem-solving. These can favor an aggregation of many user innovators, each spending a little, over fewer producer innovators benefitting from higher economies of scale in product development. We also note that the present study explores only one initial point on what is likely to be a complex efficiency landscape.

Keywords: user innovation

Suggested Citation

Hienerth, Christoph and von Hippel, Eric A. and Jensen, Morten Berg, User Community vs. Producer Innovation Development Efficiency: A First Empirical Study (June 1, 2013). MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4926-11 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1916319 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1916319

Christoph Hienerth (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Eric Von Hippel

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)

Morten Berg Jensen

University of Aarhus - School of Business and Social Sciences ( email )

Fuglesangs Alle 4
DK-8210 Aarhus V, DK 8210
Denmark

Paper statistics

Downloads
992
Rank
17,588
Abstract Views
3,305