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Users as Inventors and Developers of Radical Innovation

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To explore the role of users in radical innovation projects this study focuses on the question whether users are able to actively contribute to the development of radical innovations and which user characteristics are critical hereby. A multiple case study analysis was conducted in the field of medical technology. Five radical innovation projects were selected including medical robots and computer-assisted navigation systems.

The case studies reveal that users with a unique set of characteristics can play a dominant role in the new product development process of radical innovations. These users have a high motivation toward new solutions, possess diverse competencies, and are embedded into a very supportive context. Manufacturers that took over the ideas and prototypes of the inventive users benefited significantly. Based on the empirical findings the recommendation for manufacturers is to systematically leverage specific users for the development of radical innovations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2005

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