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Democratizing Innovation (MIT Press) Paperback – February 17, 2006
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Eric von Hippel has a penchant for identifying important aspects of technological innovation that run contrary to conventional wisdom and to the thrust of conventional scholarship. His work on the important role that users, rather than suppliers, play in the advance of technology casts the process in a new light. This book is an intellectual feast.(Richard R. Nelson, George Blumenthal Professor of International and Public Affairs, Business, and Law, Columbia University)
In a concise 200 pages, von Hippel traces the empirical studies on user innovation, determining that between 10 and 40 percent of users engage in developing or modifying products. These 'lead users' are ahead of the curve and often create improvements that other users will want to share.(Harvard Business School Working Knowledge)
Still, new patterns are emerging in some scattered yet suggestive areas of product design, studied by management expert, Eric von Hippel in Democratizing Innovation. 'Lead users' (the most zealous windsurfers who get new boards first and modify them, the most advanced builders experimenting with new materials like stressed-skin panels) often suggest or even create useful innovations that manufacturers adopt.(San Francisco Chronicle)
The book puts its thesis well, with plenty of examples.(Financial Review (Australia))
The fruits of his labor are nicely summarized in Democratizing Innovation, a useful primer on what he calls 'user-centered innovation.'...Despite its brevity, Democratizing Innovation is a heavyweight book, written with the lightness of touch you might expect from a regular contributor to the journal Management Science. But where innovation comes from and how value gets created are heavy questions for all companies in all industries. No innovation means no value added, and ultimately no profits.(The Financial Times)
This is a book that should be required reading for every person in every automotive company who is involved in product development, be they marketers or engineers, manufacturers or managers. It is that important.(Automotive Design and Production)
von Hippel has brought an important issue to the fore.(CIO Insight)
Von Hippel presents a persuasive case for the benefits of encouraging lead users to innovate and a truly intriguing look at what they've contributed to the world so far.(BizEd)
[von Hippel's] book looks at why users want customized products, why it is more advantageous for them rather than the manufacturer to make the changes, why they freely share their innovations with other, and the need for government to encourage user innovaton by refining patent and intellectual protection legislation. It's a fascinating, little explored trend that he covers thoroughly. Although his book is written in academic style, it offers lots of examples and provides an understanding of an important innovation in the world of innovation.(Globe and Mail)
[von Hippel] shows that, in fields ranging from surgical instruments and software to kite surfing, customers often come up with new products of new ways of using old ones. Some companies encourage their customers to modify their merchandise. Others, however, do not: when a devoted user of Aibo, Sony's robot dog, wrote applicatons that would allow the Aibo to dance to music, Sony threatened the man with a lawsuit.(James Surowiecki New Yorker)
The guru of customer-centered innovation blazes new ground in this masterpiece. He shows managers how to get the most out of a world where customers and communities pioneer new ideas and reconfigure what they buy. Other books tell you that co-creating innovations with customers is important -- Von Hippel tells you how to make it happen.(Philip Anderson, INSEAD Alumni Fund Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Director, International Centre for Entrepreneurship)
Von Hippel provides us with a Rosetta Stone to innovation in the Internet age! He marshals a wide range of research findings to document and explain the major shift to user-centered innovation that is now well underway. He also shows managers and policymakers the most effective ways to adapt.(Nikolaus Franke, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration)
Democratizing Innovation presents pathbreaking research to explain a major paradigm shift in innovation: users are displacing manufacturers to become the dominant force of innovation in many fields. I strongly recommend this brilliant, well-written book to researchers and managers who are passionate about the nature of successful innovation -- and how to achieve it!(Georg von Krogh, Director, Institute of Management, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland)
About the Author
Eric von Hippel is Professor of Management of Innovation and Head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is the author of The Sources of Innovation.
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Top Customer Reviews
Von Hippel's book goes also beyond the open innovation idea of Chesbrough and others as mentioned by the first reviewer. Chesbrough names a lot of important actors in the innovation process, but neglects the - in my opinion - most important one: the customer or user of the innovation. Von Hippel starts exactly here. His approach is focused on the role of users and customers for the innovation process. In this regard, he builds on his earlier word of the 1970s and 1980s, but has a new story to tell: that user innovation is not only changing the corporate innovation process but also the nature of value creation: If manufacturing is outsourced to Asia, and users take over innovation (and perform this process superior to internal innovation processes), what is left for the corporation?
The objective of this book is to provide a state-of-the-art overview of research in the field of user innovation. Also, it aims to show how the different (so far more or less isolated) aspects are related. These are ambitious goals.
From my perspective, the manuscript fully meets them. It offers a profound, concise and easy to read overview of the research done in the past decade. Its outstanding quality is that it manages to relate different aspects in an innovative way and shows the rationale of the research field. It delivers new insights even to a researcher active in this field for some years now.
The book it interesting for a broad audience. It is stimulating even for a specialist in this field. But of course, the main audience is much broader. It should be of interest for scholars and students in the fields of innovation management, new product development, market research, economics and other. It will be of interest also for practitioners and policy makers in the corresponding areas.
I really like the many easy-to-understand examples and its conciseness. One does not necessarily have to have an understanding of the research field before in order to learn from the book (and enjoy it!).
In recent years, a new concept, "open market innovation," has helped many of us go beyond our corporate walls to the outside world for new ideas and innovations in designated fields, primarily using the Internet to help cast our net widely.
Proctor & Gamble, for example, help to pioneer this concept, starting in 2000. In 2003, Henry Chesbrough's book, "Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology," went into some detail telling us how to use the concept to improve the flow of worthwhile ideas. His book was followed by C. K. Prahalad, Venkat Ramaswamy's work,
"The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers.
Yet, for some reason von Hipple makes no mention of the Open Market Innovation concept to help cast a net to early adopters and way, way beyond. I wonder why? Certainly, he's not that far out of touch.
But more fundamentally, von Hipple's book is too academic - perhaps written more for an academic audience than practitioners who should be interested in applying his ideas in practice. Perhaps his editor was asleep, or couldn't quite figure out what he was trying to say.
In spite of this drawback, I recomment his book. Perhaps senior executives will give a copy to a junior worker and ask him/her to translate it and recommend what their company should do.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the author seems not to realize that the top down dominance over innovation he describes is attributable to attempts to control market forces; that the drmocratized innovation he... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mikester
This book has changed my mind from immediately negating an idea with trivial arguments. It has also helped my open mindedness in regards to other facets of life and not just... Read morePublished 23 months ago by abec
A an investor not manager I probably was looking at the wrong book
It might be OK for the intended audience, so if that is who you are, ignore this review.
An important book because explores new and important ways the innovation is carry out, that implies a total trasnformation of companys developent product areas as we know. Read morePublished on May 6, 2014 by luis castiella
It is very useful book. I learnd a lot of knowledge from this book. It is very nice. I love it.Published on April 29, 2014 by eric
Excellent Book. Was the foundation of a large research project. A bit on the dated side. But the foundation of thought is excellent.Published on November 15, 2013 by Nusia