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The Dominant Role Of "Local" Information In User Innovation: The Case Of Mountain Biking

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  • Luthje, Christian
  • Herstatt, Cornelius
  • von Hippel, Eric
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    Abstract

    In a study of innovations developed by mountain bikers, we find that user-innovators almost always utilize "local" information - information already in their possession or generated by themselves - to assess the need for and to develop solutions for their innovations. We argue that this finding fits the economic incentives operating on users. Local need information is the most relevant to user-innovators, since the bulk of their innovation-related rewards typically come from in-house use. Local solution information that is already "in stock" is preferred because it can be applied to innovation-related problem-solving at a relatively low cost. Our findings suggest that innovation development is distributed among users in an economical way: user-innovations tend to be developed by "low-cost providers." It also suggests that the likely function and solution type employed in most user innovations can be predicted on the basis of preexisting user activity patterns and stocks of solution-related information. This in turn opens the way to new methods for efficiently screening user populations for the presence of innovations of any specified type

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/1804
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management in its series Working papers with number 4377-02.

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    Date of creation: 27 Jan 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:1804

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    Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
    Phone: 617-253-2659
    Web page: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/
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    Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA

    Related research

    Keywords: User Innovation; Local Information; Mountain Biking;

    References

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    1. Lüthje, Christian, 2000. "Characteristics of innovating users in a consumer goods field: An empirical study of sport-related product consumers," Working Papers 8, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute for Technology and Innovation Management.
    2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1985. "How Rapidly Does New Industrial Technology Leak Out?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(2), pages 217-23, December.
    3. Harhoff, Dietmar & Henkel, Joachim & von Hippel, Eric, 2003. "Profiting from voluntary information spillovers: how users benefit by freely revealing their innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1753-1769, December.
    4. Nelson, Richard R, 1982. "The Role of Knowledge in R&D Efficiency," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 453-70, August.
    5. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
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