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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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Diffusion Shortfall in Free Innovation

Diffusion Shortfall in Free Innovation

(p.65) 5 Diffusion Shortfall in Free Innovation
Free Innovation

Eric von Hippel

The MIT Press

This chapter identifies an important inbuilt difference between the two paradigms with respect to innovation diffusion. The difference springs from the fact that, unlike producers, free innovators do not protect their innovations from free adoption, and they do not sell them. As a result, benefits that free-riding adopters may gain are not systematically shared with free innovators—there is no market link between these parties. This chapter thus presents evidence for the systematic shortfall in free innovators' incentives to invest in the diffusion of free innovations, and then argues that it is caused by the absence of a market link between free innovators and free-riding adopters. The chapter then concludes with suggested ways for addressing this situation.

Keywords:   diffusion shortfalls, innovation diffusion, free adoption, market links, free-riding adopters

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