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Determinants of User Innovation and Innovation Sharing in a Local Market

Pamela D. Morrison, John H. Roberts and Eric von Hippel
Management Science
Vol. 46, No. 12 (Dec., 2000), pp. 1513-1527
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2661530
Page Count: 15
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Determinants of User Innovation and Innovation Sharing in a Local Market
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Abstract

It is known that end users of products and services sometimes innovate, and that innovations developed by users sometimes become the basis for important new commercial products and services. It has also been argued and to some extent shown that such innovations will be found concentrated in a "lead user" segment of the user community. However, neither the characteristics of innovating users nor the scope of the community that they "lead" has been explored in depth. In this paper, we explore the characteristics of innovation, innovators, and innovation sharing by library users of OPAC information search systems in Australia. This market has capable users, but it is nonetheless clearly a "follower" with respect to worldwide technological advance. We find that 26% of users in this local market nonetheless do modify their OPACs in both major and minor ways, and that OPAC manufacturers judge many of these user modifications to be of commercial interest. We find that we can distinguish modifying from nonmodifying users on the basis of a number of factors, including their "leading-edge status" and their in-house technical capabilities. We find that many innovating users freely share their innovations with others, and find that we can distinguish users that share information about their modifications from users that do not. We conclude by considering some implications of our findings for idea generation practices in marketing.

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