Free Medical Innovation by Patients – No Producers Required

12 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2018

See all articles by Harold J. DeMonaco

Harold J. DeMonaco

Harvard University - Massachusetts General Hospital; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Pedro Oliveira

Copenhagen Business School; Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics

Andrew W. Torrance

University of Kansas - School of Law

Christiana von Hippel

University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health

Eric A. von Hippel

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

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

Today, medical patients are increasingly able to develop sophisticated medical device and service innovations to serve their own needs – no producers required. This “free” self-help innovation process greatly benefits medical patients - they can build and use important medical advances that are not commercially available. Patient innovation also can greatly benefit managers of medical producer firms. For them, patient DIY innovation is a form of “free R&D” that can inform and amplify their in-house development efforts. In this brief article we will start with two examples of important, patient-developed medical product and service innovations. Next, we will explain how free patient innovation both complements and supports producer innovation – and how and why it works. Finally, we will explain that essentially the same innovation patterns and lessons apply across all consumer goods fields.

Keywords: innovation, user innovation, patient innovation, medical innovation

Suggested Citation

DeMonaco, Harold J. and Oliveira, Pedro and Torrance, Andrew W. and von Hippel, Christiana and von Hippel, Eric, Free Medical Innovation by Patients – No Producers Required (July 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3241760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3241760

Harold J. DeMonaco

Harvard University - Massachusetts General Hospital ( email )

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
United States

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

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Pedro Oliveira

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics ( email )

Palma de Cima
Lisboa, 1649-023
Portugal

Andrew W. Torrance

University of Kansas - School of Law ( email )

Green Hall
1535 W. 15th Street
Lawrence, KS 66045-7577
United States

Christiana Von Hippel

University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health ( email )

50 University Hall #7360
Berkeley, CA 94720-7360
United States

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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