Innovation as Consumption: Analysis of Consumers' Innovation Efficiency

Christoph Hienerth, Eric Von Hippel, Morten Berg Jensen

    Research output: Working paperResearch


    In this paper we report upon a first empirical exploration of the relative efficiency of innovation development by product users vs. product producers. In a study of over 50 years of product innovation in the whitewater kayaking field, we find users in aggregate were approximately 3X more efficient at developing important kayaking product innovations than were producers in aggregate. We speculate that this result is driven by what we term “efficiencies of scope” in problem-solving. These can favor an aggregation of many user innovators, each spending a little, over fewer producer innovators benefitting from higher economies of scale in product development. We also note that the present study explores only one initial point on what is likely to be a complex efficiency landscape.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCambridge
    PublisherMIT Sloan School of Management
    Number of pages30
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    SeriesMIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper


    • User Innovation

    Cite this