Eric von Hippel

Eric von Hippel, the T. Wilson (1953) Professor of Technological Innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management, is a leading research scholar on the economics and management of free, open, and distributed innovation.

  • Free Innovation

    Free Innovation

    Eric von Hippel

    A leading innovation scholar explains the growing phenomenon and impact of free innovation, in which innovations developed by consumers and given away “for free.”

    In this book, Eric von Hippel, author of the influential Democratizing Innovation, integrates new theory and research findings into the framework of a “free innovation paradigm.” Free innovation, as he defines it, involves innovations developed by consumers who are self-rewarded for their efforts, and who give their designs away “for free.” It is an inherently simple grassroots innovation process, unencumbered by compensated transactions and intellectual property rights.

    Free innovation is already widespread in national economies and is steadily increasing in both scale and scope. Today, tens of millions of consumers are collectively spending tens of billions of dollars annually on innovation development. However, because free innovations are developed during consumers' unpaid, discretionary time and are given away rather than sold, their collective impact and value have until very recently been hidden from view. This has caused researchers, governments, and firms to focus too much on the Schumpeterian idea of innovation as a producer-dominated activity.

    Free innovation has both advantages and drawbacks. Because free innovators are self-rewarded by such factors as personal utility, learning, and fun, they often pioneer new areas before producers see commercial potential. At the same time, because they give away their innovations, free innovators generally have very little incentive to invest in diffusing what they create, which reduces the social value of their efforts.

    The best solution, von Hippel and his colleagues argue, is a division of labor between free innovators and producers, enabling each to do what they do best. The result will be both increased producer profits and increased social welfare—a gain for all.

  • Democratizing Innovation

    Democratizing Innovation

    Eric von Hippel

    The process of user-centered innovation: how it can benefit both users and manufacturers and how its emergence will bring changes in business models and in public policy.

    Innovation is rapidly becoming democratized. Users, aided by improvements in computer and communications technology, increasingly can develop their own new products and services. These innovating users—both individuals and firms—often freely share their innovations with others, creating user-innovation communities and a rich intellectual commons. In Democratizing Innovation, Eric von Hippel looks closely at this emerging system of user-centered innovation. He explains why and when users find it profitable to develop new products and services for themselves, and why it often pays users to reveal their innovations freely for the use of all.The trend toward democratized innovation can be seen in software and information products—most notably in the free and open-source software movement—but also in physical products. Von Hippel's many examples of user innovation in action range from surgical equipment to surfboards to software security features. He shows that product and service development is concentrated among "lead users," who are ahead on marketplace trends and whose innovations are often commercially attractive.

    Von Hippel argues that manufacturers should redesign their innovation processes and that they should systematically seek out innovations developed by users. He points to businesses—the custom semiconductor industry is one example—that have learned to assist user-innovators by providing them with toolkits for developing new products. User innovation has a positive impact on social welfare, and von Hippel proposes that government policies, including R&D subsidies and tax credits, should be realigned to eliminate biases against it. The goal of a democratized user-centered innovation system, says von Hippel, is well worth striving for. An electronic version of this book is available under a Creative Commons license.

    • Hardcover $32.00
    • Paperback $22.95

Contributor

  • Leading Open Innovation

    Leading Open Innovation

    Anne Sigismund Huff, Kathrin M. Möslein, and Ralf Reichwald

    Learning from broad experience with open innovation: how it works, who contributes to it, and arenas for innovation from manufacturing to education.

    In today's competitive globalized market, firms are increasingly reaching beyond conventional internal methods of research and development to use ideas developed through processes of open innovation (OI). Organizations including Siemens, Nokia, Wikipedia, Hyve, and innosabi may launch elaborate OI initiatives, actively seeking partners to help them innovate in specific areas. Individuals affiliated by common interests rather than institutional ties use OI to develop new products, services, and solutions to meet unmet needs.

    This volume describes the ways that OI expands the space for innovation, describing a range of OI practices, participants, and trends. The contributors come from practice and academe, and reflect international, cross-sector, and transdisciplinary perspectives. They report on a variety of OI initiatives, offer theoretical frameworks, and consider new arenas for OI from manufacturing to education.

    Contributors Nizar Abdelkafi, John Bessant, Yves Doz, Johann Füller, Lynda Gratton, Rudolf Gröger, Julia Hautz, Anne Sigismund Huff, Katja Hutter, Christoph Ihl, Thomas Lackner, Karim R. Lakhani, Kathrin M. Möslein, Anne-Katrin Neyer, Frank Piller, Ralf Reichwald, Mitchell M. Tseng, Catharina van Delden, Eric von Hippel, Bettina von Stamm, Andrei Villarroel, Nancy Wünderlich

    • Hardcover $47.00
    • Paperback $30.00