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Free Innovation$
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Eric von Hippel

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035217

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035217.001.0001

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Viability Zones for Free Innovation

Viability Zones for Free Innovation

(p.37) 3 Viability Zones for Free Innovation
Free Innovation

Eric von Hippel

The MIT Press

This chapter explores the conditions under which innovation pays for both free innovators and producers. Drawing heavily upon previous research, the chapter defines and describes three basic innovation modes: free innovation by single individuals, collaborative free innovation by multiple individuals, and producer innovation. It then explores the conditions under which each of these modes is “viable”—that is, will provide a net benefit to innovators engaging in it. Building upon innovation mode viability calculations, the chapter reveals that continuing improvements to free innovators' design tools and communication capabilities are making free innovation viable for an increasing range of innovation opportunities. As a result, the chapter concludes that free innovation will steadily grow in importance relative to producer innovation.

Keywords:   free innovation, collaborative free innovation, producer innovation, viability, innovation mode viability calculations, free innovation opportunities

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