Why Firm-established User Communities Work for Innovation: The Personal Attributes of Innovative Users in the Case of Computer-controlled Music Instruments

Lars Bo Jeppesen, Lars Frederiksen

    Research output: Working paperResearch

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    Studies of the sources of innovations have recognized that many innovations are developed by users. However, the fact that firms employ communities of users to strengthen their innovation process has not yet received much attention. In firm-established user communities users freely reveal innovations to a firm’s product platform, which in turn puts the firm in a favorable position (a) because these new product features become available to all users by sharing on a user-to-user basis, or (b) because it allows the firm to pick up the innovations and integrate them in future products and then benefit by selling them to all users. We study the key personal attributes of the individuals responsible for innovations and the creation of value in this organizational context, namely the innovative users, to explain why firm-established user communities work. Analyzing data derived from a web-based questionnaire generating 442 answers we find that innovative users are likely to be (i) hobbyists, an attribute that can be assumed to affect innovators’ willingness to share innovations (positively), and (ii) responsive to "firm-recognition" as a motivating factor for undertaking innovation, which explains their decision to join the firm’s domain. In agreement with earlier studies we also find that innovative users are likely to be "lead users", an attribute that we assume to affect the quality of user innovation. Whether or not a firm-established user community can be turned into an asset for the firm is to a great extent conditioned by the issues studied in this paper.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCopenhagen
    PublisherInstitut for Industriøkonomi og Virksomhedsstrategi, Handelshøjskolen i København
    Number of pages30
    ISBN (Print)8778690943
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2004
    SeriesWorking Paper / Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy. Copenhagen Business School


    • Innovation
    • User community
    • User characteristics

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