5 May 2007

Gartner’s interview with Eric von Hippel

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Eric von Hippel
Gartner fellow Tom Austin recently interviewed MIT Sloan Professor Eric von Hippel to discuss his new book: Democratizing Innovation.

This seminal book – based on a broad base of academic research – explores how users have been driving the innovation process for centuries. It also discusses opportunities that organizations can avail themselves of by exploiting user-driven innovation.

The interview contains an interesting section about user-centred innovation policy:

“In 2005, Denmark became the first country in the world to adopt support of “user-centered innovation” as national policy. Academic colleagues from Denmark and elsewhere are working to help understand the implications of this. Some of my colleagues and I also set up a Danish User-Centered Innovation Lab in Denmark to help. Starting in 2007, the Danish government is spending 160 million Kroner [equivalent to 21m Euro or 29m USD] a year on this – and the budget is slated to grow a lot larger over time.

The logic behind the new Danish policy is that, essentially, all the government spending on innovation around the world is now technology push – R&D subsidies to manufacturers and so on. The Danes and other small countries can never win at that game; they will always be outspent by larger countries. Their new idea is to help their manufacturing firms be early at converting to the new, user-centered innovation paradigm we have been discussing in order to create a comparative advantage for Denmark.”

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