menu

Consumers Leading The Way To Product Innovation

Consumers Leading The Way To Product Innovation
Design

Recent research suggests that it is the users and not product manufacturers that are creating innovative changes.

Naresh Kumar
  • 11 february 2011

For quite some time, economists and governments believed that innovation came from the producers and not consumers. But recent times have shown how customers are taking the lead into product innovation, improving and customizing them to their own needs. In his research, Professor Eric A. Von Hippel too found that individual consumers in the UK are spending more money to improve products they own than British companies spend on R & D.

Such innovations range from really small modifications to highly complex ones, and thanks to the Internet and open-source platforms, people are learning and collaborating to bring new changes or outright inventing new products.

New York Times reports on such user innovations like the DIY Book Scanner and the ice hammer with leash, both of which stemmed out from certain limitations of existing products in the market. It adds:

Mr. von Hippel, who has been researching innovation for 30 years, estimates that when it comes to scientific instruments 77 percent of the innovations come from users. Fields like medicine can be particularly fertile for creative tinkering. A classic example of user innovation is the heart-lung machine. In the late 1930s Dr. John Heysham Gibbon approached manufacturers about building one, but they did not know how to do it or whether there was a market for it. So Dr. Gibbon spent years developing one himself before this essential device was manufactured commercially.

Sport enthusiasts, like windsurfers, cyclists and fly fishermen, commonly modify equipment. William W. Fisher III, a Harvard law professor and an active ice climber, was one of the enthusiasts who in the 1970s had the idea of adding a leash to ice hammers and axes so they could hang on them while climbing frozen waterfalls. Other climbers followed suit. In time, manufacturers incorporated the leashes into their products.

Eric A. Von Hippel

NY Times: “Innovation Far Removed From the Lab”

Image courtesy diybookscanner.org

Design
Trending

Turn Any Wearable Into A Mental Health Tracker

Fitness / Sport
Work Yesterday

Amazon Is Experimenting With A 30-Hour Work Week

The online retailer is launching a pilot program that will allow a technical team to work with a considerably shortened schedule

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

How The Rio Olympics Stood For More Than Just Games

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the finest moments beyond sports

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Retail Yesterday

Mobile Travel App Embraces Cognitive Computing

The Orlando Tourism Board is looking to IBM Watson to provide personalized local recommendations for visitors

Automotive Yesterday

Bike-Friendly Apartment Building For Swedish Cyclists

A residential space is being designed for commuters to easily transport goods

Advertising Yesterday

Nike Takes Over An Entire City Block With A Giant Running Track

The Unlimited Stadium is shaped like a 100-meter sole print of the brand's LunarEpic sneaker

Gaming Yesterday

Fortune Cookie Service Brings Bad News To Your Doorstep

To promote their new delivery service Blackbox, the creators of Cards Against Humanity are delivering unfortunate messages in an edible form

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs Yesterday

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Arts & Culture Yesterday

This Picture Frame Could Be The Lava Lamp For A New Generation

Slow Dance makes real objects appear to move in slow motion

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Airport Mural Puts Passengers In The Clouds

The installation in an Amsterdam terminal lets travelers float through a series of billowing 3D digital shapes

Automotive Yesterday

DevBot Is An Intelligent, Driverless, Electric Car

The unmanned test vehicle from RoboRace is a preview of upcoming AI race models

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

AR Ski Goggles Make Racing Down The Slopes Even More Immersive

Israeli startup RideOn weaves digital overlays into the thrill of skiing with an unconventional pair of protective eyewear

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Advertising Yesterday

Japan Wants To Make 2020 Olympic Medals From Recycled Electronic Waste

The Tokyo Games could showcase the first-ever gold, silver and bronze awards made from discarded phones and computers

Culture Yesterday

This Small Town Has Become A Hide-and-Seek World Championship Destination

An old abandoned village in Northern Italy has become a massive playground for over one hundred competitive players

Design Yesterday

Garmin’s New Smartwatch Is Challenging The Luxury Market

The brand adds a premium version of its popular multi-sport trainer to its accessories collection

No search results found.