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


Jari Kuusisto

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


Jari Kuusisto

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
•  Germany…


Jari Kuusisto

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

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