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Statistical Indicators Development for User Innovation and Innovation Transfers in Finland

Eric von Hippel Jeroen de Jong Fred Gault Jari Kuusisto

Jari Kuusisto

Importance of user innovation

Development and modification of consumer goods and services by users has been found to be a very important source of new consumer products and services (see e.g. von Hippel 2005). Users that develop consumer goods for their own use have also been found to be a very important source of new start-up firms (Shah and Tripsas 2008). Research is also finding that total consumer expenditure on innovation is likely to exceed expenditure by all producers of consumer goods (Hienerth and
von Hippel 2010, forthcoming, and NESTA 2010).

Despite the importance and very large magnitude of goods and services innovation by users, this activity is not documented in any way in either official or unofficial innovation statistics. The scope and nature of user innovation transfers to producers and their wider commercialization is highly important but largely unknown area of innovation activities

Jari Kuusisto

InFi-project focus

Developing understanding on users needs

New research methods that provide in-depth understanding on user needs

Users as R&D&I actors and resources

New level of interaction gives users more power & responsibilities in the R&D&I process

User innovations and their commercialization

Users develop innovations for their own purposes; this provides businesses with new ideas and commercial opportunities

Kuusisto, 2009

Jari Kuusisto

Survey of 3500 Finnish consumers

Telephone and internet surveys by trained interviewers 1. Pilot surveys (6 x 100 consumers) focusing on
Consumer innovation indicator development and Survey method development and selection - telephone vs. internet

2. Main survey of 3500 consumers

Telephone or internet survey (pending on pilot)

3. Case studies exploring most interesting cases

e.g. certain user communities

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InFi-project - Expected findings

New knowledge of user innovation activities by consumers
Who? When? In what context? How extensively? How are innovations are transferred to commercial actors?

New indicators that will reveal the scope of consumer innovation

In consumer goods In private and public sector services In the context of user groups

Jari Kuusisto

InFi-project - Expected findings II

New inputs for innovation policy development
Consumers as important source of innovation Need to facilitate / promote the transfer of consumer innovations?

New indicators that are instrumental for better statistics

Scale, scope and variation in user innovation by consumers

Indications of the economic significance of consumer innovations

Transfer of consumer innovations to commercial producers

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InFi-project in broader context

Links to innovation policy debate and development
OECD, EU Commission, and national level

Project is building on the existing knowledge

Previous and on-going projects in the USA UK Netherlands Iceland Portugal

The results will benefit forthcoming research


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Research team
Eric von Hippel (team leader) is T Wilson Professor of Innovation, MIT Sloan
School of Management, and Professor of Engineering Systems, MIT. His research focuses on the economics and management of user innovation. Von Hippel is regarded as the leading academic researcher in that field today.

Fred Gault is Professorial Fellow at the UN University MERIT, Netherlands, and

OECD Innovation Strategy Task Force member. For over two decades Dr. Gault managed science, technology and innovation indicator statistics at Statistics Canada. He is an internationally-known expert in that field.

Jeroen de Jong is an Assistant Professor, RSM Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

He is also a specialist in charge of innovation indicators and statistics at EIM Business and Policy Research in Zoetermeer, the Netherlands. EIM produces official statistical research for the Netherlands government.

Jari Kuusisto is an Affiliate Professor, Lappeenranta University of Technology and

University of Sussex is a Visiting Scholar at MIT. He is also director of SC-Research Institute, specializing on innovation research and policy development.

Jari Kuusisto



Jari Kuusisto