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User Innovation Research Initiative

User Innovation Initative Logo created by Peter Vandor

The User In­nov­a­tion Re­search Ini­ti­at­ive is a re­search pro­gram which aims to deepen our un­der­stand­ing of the phenomenon of user in­nov­a­tion and is hos­ted by the In­sti­tute for En­tre­pren­eur­ship and In­nov­a­tion at the Vi­enna Uni­versity of Eco­nom­ics & Busi­ness.

The Phenomenon

Many Users In­nov­ate: Nearly three dec­ades of re­search into the sources of in­nov­a­tion, pi­on­eered and still driven by Eric von Hip­pel (MIT), has re­vealed that users can be sur­pris­ingly cre­at­ive and in­nov­at­ive.  In many cases, the users them­selves – and not man­u­fac­tur­ers – are the ori­gin­at­ors of new products and ser­vices.

  • Em­pir­ical stud­ies, for example in the fields of com­puters, bank­ing, pet­ro­leum pro­cessing, soft­ware, man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses, the semi-­con­ductor in­dustry and many sports in­dus­tries like snow­board­ing, wind­surf­ing, or kayak­ing have shown that the most im­port­ant in­nov­a­tions in the evolu­tion of in­dus­tries were ori­gin­ated by users.

  • User in­nov­a­tion is not a rare oc­cur­rence.  The share of user in­nov­at­ors in the fields stud­ied to date range from 10% (out­door con­sumer products) to al­most 80% (ex­treme sport­ing com­munit­ies).

  • The ad­vent of the in­ter­net has pro­pelled user in­nov­at­ive­ness, as it is now much easier for users to in­ter­act with other users. The res­ults of such global user net­works and com­munit­ies in­clude open source soft­ware or Wiki­pe­dia, to name just two examples.

Com­pan­ies and aca­dem­ics alike are in­creas­ingly search­ing for ways to re­claim the ter­rit­ory of user in­nov­a­tion for in­nov­a­tion man­age­ment and pro­duct devel­op­ment.

The Fo­cus Themes

The User In­nov­a­tion Re­search Ini­ti­at­ive aims to deepen our un­der­stand­ing of the phenomenon of user in­nov­a­tion. We search for pat­terns and mech­an­isms and, build­ing on our in­sights, develop and im­prove prac­tical meth­ods in order to har­ness user in­nov­at­ive­ness for com­pan­ies and so­ci­ety over­all. Our re­search is or­gan­ized in four areas:

In­ter­na­tional Re­search Part­ners

Out­stand­ing User In­nov­a­tion Re­search Schol­ar­ship

Out­stand­ing in­ter­na­tional re­search­ers who want to visit and col­lab­or­ate with the User In­nov­a­tion Re­search Ini­ti­at­ive group in Vi­enna are provided with of­fice space and can ap­ply for the 'Out­stand­ing User In­nov­a­tion Re­search Schol­ar­ship' in order to fa­cil­it­ate their stay.

In­ter­ested in Col­lab­or­at­ing?

We are highly in­ter­ested in col­lab­or­at­ing with schol­ars as well as prac­ti­tion­ers with an in­terest in one of the fo­cus areas of our User In­nov­a­tion Re­search Ini­ti­at­ive.

For schol­ars: If you are in­ter­ested in shar­ing your ideas, dis­cuss­ing and present­ing your work, or launch­ing joint pro­jects please feel free to con­tact the in­it­at­ive leader Nikolaus Franke (nikolaus.franke@wu-wien.ac.at) or one of the ini­ti­at­ive man­agers (see below) for fur­ther in­form­a­tion.

For prac­ti­tion­ers: If you are in­ter­ested in col­lab­or­at­ing with or spon­sor­ing the User In­nov­a­tion Re­search Ini­ti­at­ive group, there are many dif­fer­ent ways to do so. Please feel free to con­tact either the in­it­at­ive leader Nikolaus Franke (nikolaus.franke@wu-wien.ac.at) or one of the ini­ti­at­ive man­agers (see below) for fur­ther in­form­a­tion.

Con­tact

Peter Keinz
Peter Keinz

(User Communities & Crowdsourcing)

Fur­ther Rel­ev­ant Links

A 'corner­stone' book about user in­nov­a­tion is 'Demo­crat­iz­ing In­nov­a­tion' by Prof. Eric von Hip­pel (MIT). A free down­load is avail­able at:
http://web.mit.edu/evhip­pel/www/books.htm

A col­lec­tion of rel­ev­ant re­search pa­pers on user in­nov­a­tion is avail­able at:
http://evhip­pel.mit.edu/pa­pers/

A good web­site on mass cus­tom­iz­a­tion (in Ger­man) is
www.mass-­cus­tom­iz­a­tion.de

A good web­site on open in­nov­a­tion (in Ger­man) is
www.ope­n­in­nov­at­ors.de