Measuring user innovation in the UK
The importance of product creation by users
There is a growing belief that the traditional division of labour between innovators and customershas started to break down. Two developments are driving this shift: markets are becoming morediverse and user needs more varied, while sophisticated, cheap tools for innovation are becomingwidely available to both corporate customers and individual consumers. The Internet in particular isenabling innovative users to come together in communities that develop innovations that in somecases compete with, and in others complement, those produced by specialists.This democratisation of innovation has potentially critical implications for innovation policy, whichhas often focused on the activities and motivations of specialist producers. This makes it vitallyimportant to establish how much user innovation goes on, and its economic signicance. Moststudies of user innovation to date, especially in the UK have focused on specic industrial sectors,product groups or communities of users, and have shied away from attempting to measure howmuch user innovation actually occurs.The large scale surveys presented in this report set out to address the gap in the evidence byidentifying the scale and importance of user innovation by consumers and businesses across the UKeconomy.In doing so, this report constitutes a rst step towards a better understanding of this phenomenon,and the formulation of policies to support it.As ever, we look forward to your comments.
Executive Director of Policy and Research, NESTA
NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.Our aim is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation. We invest inearly-stage companies, inform innovation policy and encourage a culturethat helps innovation to ourish.