User Innovation: A Novel Framework for Studying Animal Innovation within a Comparative Context

Animal Cognition, 2019

15 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2019

See all articles by Lydia Hopper

Lydia Hopper

Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo

Andrew W. Torrance

University of Kansas - School of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2019

Abstract

While much work has been dedicated to defining and describing animal innovation, there is still no useful framework to compare animal innovation to human innovation, likely due to perceived fundamental differences between how, and why, humans and animals innovate. Therefore, here, we provide an overview of the current understanding of human ‘user’ innovation, provide some examples of user innovation by humans, and highlight the parallels between animal innovation and user innovation by humans. User innovation, put simply, is the process by which people invent to satisfy their own needs, not necessarily with the aim of distributing their invention, or marketing it for profit. Thus, it is much more closely aligned to the manner in which nonhuman animals innovate. Our hope is that this discussion will help to re-frame how we consider animal innovation and foster easier comparison between human and animal innovation, while propagating new avenues for research, both experimental and observational.

Keywords: user innovation, free innovation, problem solving, play, social learning, innovation, open innovation, evolution, animals, non-human innovation, tools, technology, origins of technology

JEL Classification: D81, D82, 03, 030, 031, 032, O34, O35,O38, O39, K00, K23, K29, K30, K31, K39, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Hopper, Lydia and Torrance, Andrew W., User Innovation: A Novel Framework for Studying Animal Innovation within a Comparative Context (September 1, 2019). Animal Cognition, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3448613

Lydia Hopper

Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo ( email )

2001 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
United States

Andrew W. Torrance (Contact Author)

University of Kansas - School of Law ( email )

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

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