Eric von Hippel
The MIT Press
© 2005 Eric von Hippel
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hippel, Eric von.
Democratizing innovation / Eric von Hippel.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Technological innovations—Economic aspects. 2. Diffusion of innovations.
3. Democracy. I. Title.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Dedicated to all who are building the information commons.
Introduction and Overview
Development of Products by Lead Users
Why Many Users Want Custom Products
Users’ Innovate-or-Buy Decisions
Users’ Low-Cost Innovation Niches
Why Users Often Freely Reveal Their Innovations
Adapting Policy to User Innovation
Application: Searching for Lead User Innovations
Application: Toolkits for User Innovation and Custom Design
Linking User Innovation to Other Phenomena and Fields
Early in my research on the democratization of innovation I was very for-
tunate to gain five major academic mentors and friends. Nathan Rosenberg,
Richard Nelson, Zvi Griliches, Edwin Mansfield, and Ann Carter all pro-
vided crucial support as I adopted economics as the organizing framework