Satisfying Heterogeneous User Needs Via Innovation Toolkits: The Case of Apache Security Software

17 Pages Posted: 31 May 2002 Last revised: 7 Jul 2022

See all articles by Nikolaus Franke

Nikolaus Franke

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Eric A. von Hippel

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

Date Written: January 1, 2002

Abstract

Manufacturers customarily provide only a few product variants to address the average needs of users in the major segments of markets they serve. When user needs are highly heterogeneous, this approach leaves many seriously dissatisfied. One solution is to enable users to modify products on their own using “innovation toolkits.” We explore the effectiveness of this solution in an empirical study of Apache security software. We find high heterogeneity of need in that field, and also find that users modifying their own software to be significantly more satisfied than non-innovating users. We propose that the “user toolkits” solution will be useful in many markets characterized by heterogeneous demand.

Keywords: Open Source, Apache Security Software, Innovation, Innovation Toolkits

Suggested Citation

Franke, Nikolaus and von Hippel, Eric, Satisfying Heterogeneous User Needs Via Innovation Toolkits: The Case of Apache Security Software (January 1, 2002). Research Policy, Vol. 32, No. 7, 2003, MIT Sloan School Working Paper No. 4341-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=299419 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.299419

Nikolaus Franke

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria
011-43-1-31336-0 (Phone)

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)

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