33 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2016 Last revised: 9 Feb 2017
Date Written: February 8, 2017
As it becomes apparent that users are an important source in innovation in society and in individual organizations, scholars are realizing that user-directed innovation policy may contribute to improving social welfare. How such policy might be designed, however, is uncertain, as are the costs and benefits of such policies. As a first empirical step to understanding such policies, this paper reports on the results of providing hospital clinicians with access to ‘makerspaces’, i.e. staffed facilities with prototyping tools and the expertise in using them. Findings suggest that almost all innovations developed in the makerspaces are user innovations; that the potential returns from the first 56 innovations developed in the makerspaces are approximately 15 times the required investment; and that most of the innovations would not have been developed without access to makerspaces. Yet owing to lack of diffusion, only a limited share of potential returns is realized. This suggests that provision of makerspaces, at least in healthcare contexts, is a tremendously effective form of user-supporting innovation policy both from an organizational and societal perspective, but also that it might need to be supplemented with other policies directed at overcoming barriers to diffusion if optimal social welfare is to be realized.
Keywords: innovation, innovation policy, user innovation, healthcare, clinicians, makerspaces
JEL Classification: O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Svensson, Peter O and Hartmann, Rasmus Koss, Policies to Promote User Innovation: The Case of Makerspaces and Clinician Innovation (February 8, 2017). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 5151-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2701983 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2701983