9 August 2006

How kayak users built a new industry [HBS Working Knowledge]

Be the first to share

Rodeo kayaking
Harvard Business School professor Carliss Baldwin and her colleagues Christoph Hienerth and Eric von Hippel were drawn to the sport of rodeo kayaking, but not to get their feet wet. Instead, they realised that both the sport and industry of rodeo kayaking was a wonderful example of how “user innovations” evolve and eventually become commercial products. Hienerth is a professor at Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, while von Hippel is a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management.

User innovations occur when customers of a product improve on that product with their own designs. In rodeo kayaking, the early participants built specialized kayaks from fiberglass using hand lay-up techniques; these crafts were especially nimble in rough water. In the early 1970s, other kayakers began asking these “user innovators” to create equipment for them—and the rodeo kayaking industry was born. Since then, rodeo kayaks have gone through several major design iterations, and the sport has become a $100 million business.

Baldwin and her fellow researchers wanted to better understand this path from user innovation to commercial product. What role do user communities play in this process? Are “user-manufacturers” —users who turn their improvements into commercial products—usually industry leaders? How competitive are existing, well-capitalized companies when they compete against user-manufacturers? Although there have been a number of studies on user innovation, little if any work has been done on the commercialization of user innovations, the authors believe.

The research was recently published in the working paper How User Innovations Become Commercial Products: A Theoretical Investigation and Case Study (pdf, 2.98 mb, 29 pages). The authors believe that their research “provides a first opportunity for both user-manufacturers and established manufacturers to think systematically about the dynamics of these types of markets, and to plan their business strategies accordingly.”

In an interview in Harvard Busines School’s Working Knowledge, Baldwin discusses the research and its implications for entrepreneurs who would like to become their own user innovators.

(via IdeaPort)

Be the first to share
22 October 2016
[Book] Org Design for Design Orgs
Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Design Teams By Peter Merholz and Kristin Skinner Publisher: O'Reilly Media August 2016, 198 pages Design has become the key link between users and today’s complex and rapidly evolving digital …
18 October 2016
Behavioral economics, UX design and insurance
The key to unlocking the insurance industry, writes Richie Hecker in TechCrunch, is understanding behavioral economics. The most successful players in insurance tech, he says, will win by rounding the edges on existing products. "Don’t …
2 October 2016
IFTF uncovers seven new worker archetypes of the on-demand economy
Update: Read also this Fortune Magazine review of the study (as reported by BoingBoing). Institute for the Future, the Caiifornia-based independent, nonprofit strategic research group, releases a new report aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of …
27 September 2016
Health as a social movement
Last week, the UK innovation charity Nesta launched a new report, Health as a Social Movement: The Power of People in Movements. It illuminates the value and role of health social movements and aims to …
5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing
The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to "transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and …
3 September 2016
[Paper] Design for behaviour change as a driver for sustainable innovation
Design for Behaviour Change as a Driver for Sustainable Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities for Implementation in the Private and Public Sectors Niedderer, K., Ludden, G., Clune, S. J., Lockton, D., Mackrill, J., Morris, A., Cain, R., …
30 August 2016
Intel’s Todd Harple proposes new toolkit for fashion designers
Fashion designers must integrate software, sensors, processors and new synthetic and biological materials into their toolkit, argues Intel anthropologist Todd Harple. "A fourth industrial revolution is set to change fashion, resulting in a new materiality of …
13 August 2016
New book on how corporate anthropology can help businesses grow
On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights by Andi Simon PhD Greenleaf Book Group Press July 2016, 184 pages Abstract Innovation has become such a ubiquitous value, it's in danger of becoming cliché. Companies …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

29 August 2016
Experientia discussing ethnography and patient-centricity at EPIC 2016

This week Experientia joins our colleagues and peers in Minneapolis at EPIC 2016, the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in industry. The theme for the conference this year is Pathmaking, emphasizing the power of ethnography to create transformative innovation, growth and strategic success for companies, industries and communities. On the second day of […]

22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

See all articles