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Harnessing the hackers: The emergence and exploitation of Outlaw Innovation

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  • Flowers, Stephen
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    Abstract

    This paper will explore how the often illegal activities of hackers (employed in the original usage of the term to refer to individuals who modify computer hardware and software) may produce valuable innovations. The paper argues that structural changes, including a growth in the number of knowledge workers, has resulted in a burgeoning community of users able to modify or hack existing products, or develop products that compete with existing suppliers. The paper will introduce the complementary concepts of Outlaw Innovation and the Outlaw User, locating them within the literature on users. The paper will explore how firms react to this activity and provide case studies of this phenomenon. The paper will argue that Outlaw Innovation represents an extension in our understanding of the way in which firms interact with users, presents a series of policy challenges, and opens a promising area for further research. A series of possible research questions will be outlined and the paper will conclude by indicating the next steps in the development of this line of enquiry.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 177-193

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:37:y:2008:i:2:p:177-193

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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    References

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    1. Teece, David J., 1993. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 112-113, April.
    2. Rothwell, R. & Freeman, C. & Horsley, A. & Jervis, V. T. P. & Robertson, A. B. & Townsend, J., 1993. "SAPPHO updated -- project SAPPHO phase II," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 110-110, April.
    3. Nuvolari, A., 2001. "Collective Invention during the British Industrial Revolution: The Case of the Cornish Pumping Engine," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 01.04, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
    4. Franke, Nikolaus & Shah, Sonali, 2003. "How communities support innovative activities: an exploration of assistance and sharing among end-users," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-178, January.
    5. Tang, Puay, 2005. "Digital copyright and the "new" controversy: Is the law moulding technology and innovation?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 852-871, August.
    6. Nuvolari, A., 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Working Papers 04.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
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    Cited by:
    1. Celine Schulz & Stefan Wagner, 2008. "Outlaw Community Innovations," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 12(03), pages 399-418.
    2. Dolata, Ulrich, 2011. "Radical change as gradual transformation: Characteristics and variants of socio-technical transitions," Research Contributions to Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies, SOI Discussion Papers 2011-03, University of Stuttgart, Institute for Social Sciences, Department of Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies.
    3. Dolata, Ulrich, 2009. "Technological innovations and sectoral change: Transformative capacity, adaptability, patterns of change: An analytical framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1066-1076, July.

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