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Transfers of user process innovations to process equipment producers: A study of Dutch high-tech firms


  • de Jong, Jeroen P.J.
  • von Hippel, Eric


A detailed survey of 498 high technology small and medium-sized enterprises in the Netherlands shows process innovation by user firms to be common practice. Fifty-four percent of these firms reported developing entirely novel process equipment or software for their own use and/or modifying these, both at significant private expense. Twenty-five percent of the user innovations in our sample were transferred to commercializing producer firms. Many transfers were made without any direct compensation. Very importantly from the perspective of effective diffusion of user innovations, innovations with higher commercial potential - and more general appeal for users - are much more likely to be transferred to producers. The pattern we document of frequent innovation by individual user firms at substantial cost, followed in many cases by voluntary, no-charge information spillovers to producers, suggests that "open source economics" may be a general pattern in the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • de Jong, Jeroen P.J. & von Hippel, Eric, 2009. "Transfers of user process innovations to process equipment producers: A study of Dutch high-tech firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1181-1191, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:38:y:2009:i:7:p:1181-1191

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Preißner, Stephanie & Raasch, Christina & Schweisfurth, Tim, 2017. "Is necessity the mother of disruption?," Kiel Working Papers 2097, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Konstantin Fursov & Alena Nefedova & Thomas Thurner, 2016. "What User-Innovators Do that Others Don’T: A Study of Daily Practices," HSE Working papers WP BRP 62/STI/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    3. Stéphane Lhuillery & Julio Raffo & Intan Hamdan-Livramento, 2016. "Measuring creativity: Learning from innovation measurement," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 31, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
    4. Fursov, Konstantin & Thurner, Thomas & Nefedova, Alena, 2017. "What user-innovators do that others don't: A study of daily practices," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 153-160.
    5. Isaksson, Olov H.D. & Simeth, Markus & Seifert, Ralf W., 2016. "Knowledge spillovers in the supply chain: Evidence from the high tech sectors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 699-706.
    6. Konstantin Fursov & Thomas Thurner, 2016. "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves! A Study of User-Innovation in Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 59/STI/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    7. van der Boor, Paul & Oliveira, Pedro & Veloso, Francisco, 2014. "Users as innovators in developing countries: The global sources of innovation and diffusion in mobile banking services," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1594-1607.
    8. Eric von Hippel & Jeroen P. J. de Jong & Stephen Flowers, 2012. "Comparing Business and Household Sector Innovation in Consumer Products: Findings from a Representative Study in the United Kingdom," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(9), pages 1669-1681, September.
    9. von Hippel, Eric, 2010. "Open User Innovation," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    10. Dey, Anamika & Gupta, Anil K., 2016. "Empathetic climate resilient frugal innovations for sustainable communities," IIMA Working Papers WP2016-03-53, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    11. Anamika Dey & Anil K Gupta, 2016. "Empathetic Climate Resilient Frugal Innovations for Sustainable Communities," Working Papers id:10979, eSocialSciences.
    12. Oliveira, Pedro & von Hippel, Eric, 2011. "Users as service innovators: The case of banking services," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 806-818, July.
    13. de Jong, Jeroen P.J. & von Hippel, Eric & Gault, Fred & Kuusisto, Jari & Raasch, Christina, 2015. "Market failure in the diffusion of consumer-developed innovations: Patterns in Finland," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1856-1865.
    14. repec:wsi:ijitmx:v:14:y:2017:i:04:n:s0219877017500225 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Adams, Pamela & Fontana, Roberto & Malerba, Franco, 2013. "The magnitude of innovation by demand in a sectoral system: The role of industrial users in semiconductors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-14.
    16. Zita, Júlia Eva Baltazar & Lopes, Avelino Hermíneo, 2011. "User innovation in the business enterprise sector of Maputo Province in Mozambique," MERIT Working Papers 062, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    17. Mona Ashok & Rajneesh Narula & Andrea Martinez-Noya, 2014. "End-User Collaboration for Process Innovation in Services: The Role of Internal Resources," John H Dunning Centre for International Business Discussion Papers jhd-dp2014-03, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    18. Jordan Robert Gamble & Michael Brennan & Rodney Mcadam, 2016. "A Contemporary And Systematic Literature Review Of User-Centric Innovation: A Consumer Perspective," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 20(01), pages 1-45, January.
    19. Block, Jörn H. & Henkel, Joachim & Schweisfurth, Tim G. & Stiegler, Annika, 2016. "Commercializing user innovations by vertical diversification: The user–manufacturer innovator," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 244-259.
    20. Jeroen P.J. de Jong & Eric von Hippel, 2013. "User innovation: business and consumers," Chapters,in: Handbook of Innovation Indicators and Measurement, chapter 5, pages 109-132 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    21. Hua Liang & Zongyi Zhang, 2012. "The effects of industry characteristics on the sources of technological product and process innovation," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(6), pages 867-884, December.
    22. Jeroen de Jong, 2014. "The Emperical Scope of User Innovation," Scales Research Reports H201403, EIM Business and Policy Research.


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