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Impacts of Personality Traits on Consumer Innovation Success

35 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2014 Last revised: 30 Sep 2015

Ruth Maria Stock

Darmstadt University of Technology

Eric A. von Hippel

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

Nils Lennart Gillert

Darmstadt University of Technology

Date Written: July 16, 2014

Abstract

Via a study of innovating German consumers, we explore links between the “Big Five” personality traits and successful accomplishment of three basic innovation process stages by consumer-innovators: (1) generating an idea for a new product or product improvement, (2) developing a prototype that implements that idea, and (3) diffusing the innovation to others. We find that personality traits significantly associated with success differ at each stage. First, those who score higher on openness to experience are significantly more likely to have new product ideas. Second, being introverted and conscientious is significantly associated with successful prototyping. Third, those who possess high levels of conscientiousness are more likely to successfully commercially diffuse their innovations, whereas, in contrast, conscientiousness lowers the likelihood of successful peer-to-peer diffusion.

Since the personality traits associated with successful completion of each stage differ, and the same individual with the same traits must traverse each stage in sequence, we find that personality traits strongly affect the likelihood of overall success. That is, an individual innovator with a personality profile highly favorable to successful completion of all stages is several times more likely to successfully complete all three stages than is an individual with a highly unfavorable profile. We suggest solutions to this practical problem, and also offer suggestions for further research.

Keywords: user innovators, user innovation, innovation

Suggested Citation

Stock, Ruth Maria and von Hippel, Eric A. and Gillert, Nils Lennart, Impacts of Personality Traits on Consumer Innovation Success (July 16, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2467152 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2467152

Ruth Maria Stock

Darmstadt University of Technology ( email )

Hochschulstr. 1
Darmstadt, Hesse D-64289
Germany

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)

Nils Lennart Gillert

Darmstadt University of Technology ( email )

Universitaets- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt
Magdalenenstrasse 8
Darmstadt, Hesse D-64289
Germany

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