[Featured Research] User Generated Brands and their Contribution to the Diffusion of User Innovations

Continuing our mini-series on noteworthy research from around the world, today we feature new work by Johann Füller, Roland Schroll and Eric von Hippel who show that usersnot just are the source of most innovation, but also can create powerful brands


ResearchUser Generated  Brands and their Contribution to the Diffusion of User Innovations
, by Johann Füller, Roland Schroll, Eric von Hippel

Published in: Research Policy, Volume 42, Issues 6–7, July–August 2013, Pages 1197–1209

Available on: ScienceDirect.com

 

(based on the abstract)

It has been argued that users can create innovations
and also diffuse them peer-to-peer independent of support or involvement
by producers
: that “user-only” innovation systems can exist. It is
known that users can be incented to innovate via benefits from in-house
use.

But users’ incentives to invest in diffusion are much less clear:
benefits that others might obtain from their innovation can be largely or entirely an externality for user innovators.

Of
course, effective distribution of information products can be done
near-costlessly via posting downloadable content – for example, software
– on the Internet. However, potential adopters must still learn about
the product and trust its qualities.

In producer systems, this aspect of
diffusion is heavily supported via the creation of trusted brands. It
has been shown that brands help to increase awareness, to communicate a
product's benefits, and to reduce perceived risks of adoption. The
development of brands by producers is traditionally seen as a very
costly exercise
– unlikely to be thought of as worthwhile by users who
expect little or no benefits from the diffusion of their innovations to
others.

In this paper the authors explore the creation of a strong and trusted
brand by the Apache software community
– and find it was created
costlessly, as a side effect of normal community functioning. The authors think
the costless creation of strong brands is an option that is
generally available to user innovation communities. As they 
propose, it supports the existence of robust, user-only innovation systems by
helping to solve the problem of low-cost diffusion of trusted
user-developed innovations.

By | 2018-06-14T06:34:20+00:00 Juli 15th, 2013|Co-creation, Design, Featured Research, Research Studies|

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.