Eric von Hippel – Democratizing Innovation and Norms-based Intellectual Property Rights



oh we are delighted to have Professor Eric von Hippel here to inaugurate our series this year the as you know we have a number of speakers each year in these series and professor von Hippel is is the first one the next speaker will be Professor Hugin Holtz from the University of Amsterdam and that will be next month in October so just keep that in mind but um back to Professor von Hippel who and we're absolutely delighted to have here he is a friend a newfound friend of many of us but the fact that he's newfound does not mean that he's already he's already in in the short period of time that many of us have known him have had has had a huge influence on our thinking he is a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and is the head of the technological innovation and entrepreneurship group there he has been working for decades on issues surrounding innovation particularly in a very interesting sector of innovation that he has termed distributed innovation sometimes also user innovation and most recently professor von Hippel has called this area of innovation democratizing innovation and so he will be talking today about democratizing innovation which is also by the way a book it's the title of a book that he's published this year which is available freely on the web under a Creative Commons license so a Creative Commons as you may know is the brainchild inter alia of Professor Boyle here at Duke law school so we're delighted that we have a confluence of such creative thinking between professor von Hippel book on democratizing innovation and the Creative Commons license professor von Hippel wrote a book in the 1988 call sources of innovation and this book democratizing innovation is an extension and further represents further thinking in this area but obviously he has been working in this area for a very long time and we're just delighted to have him here so without further ado I will have professor von Hippel speak okay thanks already I hope we have fun so what I want to do is tell you about work that that is is on the sources of innovation and it's on what's happening nowadays in a sense a lot of work has focused on open source and so on and what we really talk about or what this work talks about is the fact that you guys come down front if you want if there's put you down front you can come okay he says alright Sam I yes you can get it free in the web and I'm gonna walk you quickly through it and then I'm going to talk a bit about a something on norms on French chefs we're out here a knows a great deal more than I do so we'll we'll see how that one goes fine so basically what's up well traditionally the idea has been that one finds the need and fills it that users manufacturers our active users are passive the users have needs you know you sort of stand there looking very sad and then every time a manufacturer comes up to you and he sort of studies the target market and he looks deep into your eyes eases are off you want one with flavored toothpaste do you and he goes often and makes it so again the very idea of consumer is passive right and yet this is really not working very well about 75% of innovations in the sense of projects and firms fail and so you have a really kind of a broken paradigm so we have been over many years now studying where innovations really come from and what you'll see is this other kind of a paradigm that fits into open source and and related topics which is that actually users innovate to solve their own needs so Tim berners-lee for example was early this is a dimension now of time this is the number of experience of people experiencing the need Tim berners-lee working at CERN was early and trying to or in facing the problem of networking disparate computers and so he solved that problem in a user organization the world wide web is what it became and then that diffused out here and became a dominant product so uh or phenomenon so that's the pattern and it's a hugely different pattern and what it what it implies for firms and so on is major shifts because in effect you design your innovation process and your biddle business models around the way you think the innovation process works and if it's different then there are significant implications so we might talk about a bit okay so first so that you know whether you believe me or not let me give you three slides showing how we determined where innovations came from what we did is we did it across eleven fields was we took a sample of major innovations so if you look on the left here this happens to be scientific instruments but if you look on the left you'll see gas chromatography for example that's a product line for a scientific instrument firm and what would a scientific instrument firm or a producer of that product line be interested in they'd want to know where the major innovations came from over time in that field so what the sample represents is the biggest innovations over about thirty years in that field of gas chromatography ditto for those other three instrument types so then what we did and you can see this sample here we have about 100 and something innovations then what we did was we began to look where these in patience come from because as you remember the conventional wisdom is find a need and fill it it is that somehow the manufacturers look at the users and see what they need and they develop something so we went out there and we began to look and we went to the first firm to commercialize some of these things but actually the first room to commercialize each of them and we explored behind it to understand what the users contribution was and in 80% of the cases we found that in fact the user had developed the first one had published in this case or had used it to produce or whatever the product was for had then had actually used it put it in use so it wasn't just that the user had the idea it was that the user built it so for example a let in blood detection you know the levels of lead and blood that were causing brain damage couldn't be measured at the time and so doctors doing the research trying to measure this thing are the ones who improve the device there a couple of seats over down here if you want they improve the device they then made their measurements reported them but they also reported how they improve the device other people began to pick up the thing and after five to seven years on average the first commercial device was produced so in other words instead of having a system where the manufacturer is looking and figuring out what you need you do seem to have this pattern here where users are innovating now two interesting things about this first of all as I say it moves the locus of innovation to a different place so you have to design things differently the second issue that was really interesting was that the manufacturers didn't seem to know the manufacturers who were producing things that have been developed by users were not aware in general where they came from they had a system in place they had a marketing research system in place they had an R&D system in place and basically what would happen be somebody would come in from the field or something like that and say hey come in coming around the standard procedure and say hey look I saw somebody modify this in the field isn't this a good idea management would later look at that and say yes our conventional machine worked again by God we know how to do this stuff now there's an additional reason why here's the data on this one about 80% user not just the idea but built and developed and used another reason why is that the users basically take things that are around they put it together to serve their own purpose so what you see is a scientific instrument here a user prototype and if a manufacturer looks at it they say well that's great automated radioimmunoassay system first one yeah we should build that but look they didn't build it it's no product doesn't have room for HP in the corner what kind of a crummy so so basically there's more that the manufacturer has to do to make this a manufacturer product so the engineers work on it and they make it better and after a while the engineers begin to say you know what that thing that the users did was pretty crummy relative to our marvelous device and then marketing comes in and says by our marvelous new product and after 10 or 20 or 30 years they think they did it this is a problem because in fact if innovations don't come from whether you think they do again there are implications for how you design the innovation process ok so here's another one once you sort of see this kind of thing you see user innovations all over the place this is central pivot irrigation and if you ever fly over the country you'll sort of see all these circles and this is a was a major innovation in agriculture and it would take a sort of mental leap to do it what it is is a sprinkler system basically going around in circles and there's a wall at the center of each one and the mental change was that you had to think that oh my gosh under my fields and for the next few hundred miles there is an aquifer that actually goes 20 feet below the surface or something so the wall is not the scarce resource because what they had been doing was sort of digging a well somewhere on the farm and running pipes all over the place anyway major innovation and most agricultural innovations that we've tracked again are done by users here's the first one and again what you can see is that the user takes what's around so this is actually the original center pivot irrigation built by a farmer this was the pipe that they used to lay out on the fields its suspended on towers you can see these old agricultural implement wheels here and there's sort of little piston thing and what it does is the router going through this thing to come out of the irrigation heads actually also drives the the tower around by moving that piston there here's a modern version considerably cleaned up as you can see but same operating principles so I couldn't resist by calling them up this is a Valmont company it's AB dominant company in this field I called them up and I said so who invented this wonderful device or you or someone else and I said well we did my son and I said well did you get any input from users living or dead and they said simply not and when you send us out when you send us that a fact we sure to spell our names right so companies here's a wonderful one and a more modern area companies generally don't understand it you know the GE brings good things to life you heard that right their slogan and that here it is here's an ad our companies just don't understand where their enemies come for GE advertisement GE advanced applications leapfrog the industry this is a particular anybody ever had an MRI but you know about them anyway so you have to you can't wiggle you put your head in this thing and you can't wiggle because if you wiggle the image gets messed up here and this is hard for kids and for people with Parkinson's and stuff like that so let a major advance in this area is that you can actually have a computer straighten out the image so that you know even if you wiggle your head the image comes out straight and I talked to a guy named Mike harsh who actually is in GED ran the MRI area and he said yeah we bring good things to life and I said that's good let's go back and look at where your innovations really came from that you brought to life and we did and they're basically all user innovations here's the list and it's it's its users and and and so really again and GE is now getting reasonably well coordinated at picking this up but one of the issues is learning where they come from and then the second issue is figuring out what to do about it well consumer products as well Gatorade you probably know about protein based shampoo you know these are individual users and and mountain bikes and so on a protein based shampoo you know women were putting F in guacamole and stuff like that in their hair long before Procter & Gamble quote invented hair conditioners with protein in it mountain bike his kids were running down the mountains on bikes and modifying and changing them and building them along before manufacturers got involved okay so now here's an essential definition but what I mean by user an innovation is a user innovation when the developer expects the benefit by using it this can be a firm or an individual so for example Boeing if they are developing a new machine tool or machining method that's a user innovation because they don't want to sell that they want to build airplanes using the method if that same firm Boeing there's a new airliner that's a manufacturer innovation because they expect the benefit from selling it okay so whether you're an individual person or a firm what we're talking about is your relationship to the innovation you expect to benefit from using it or by manufacturing it no what do we know about this since that time the next thing we began to do was try to understand whether innovation by users was a rare phenomenon or a a pretty common one and this is eight studies in both the area of industrial products and consumer products and what you see is there's a lot of user innovation going on it is not just that an occasional mad user in the heat of the summer comes up with something it tends to be fairly common now none of these things look like this is not samples that are our users in a particular area when it is these are samples of people who care a lot about a particular type of innovation so for example surgical equipment 22% of surgeons are modifying their equipment what surgeons surgeons who work in university clinics in Germany in this case so it's not like you will find 22% of all surgeons and community hospitals or whatever innovating you'll find 23% of people who are sort of at the leading edge of that innovating analogously here mountain biking equipment 20% of those people innovate well 20% of what if I go around to your bike stands here I'm sure I won't find 20% of the bikes homemade or modified the 20% refers to a population of users who are in the area they are serious mountain bikers and they are the north slope of the US which is you know what they call it Washington and British Columbia and so on I think over there anyway Washington and some anyway where they're pushing this stuff and and these are these are simply a sample of bike club members from that area members of serious bike clubs so not every user that a significant fraction of people who care a lot and this can amount to millions of users this one here is kind of interesting I would do a products this is just people who got the the LL Bean catalog they cared that much about outdoor stuff and they had modified 10% of them and modified some element of outdoor equipment that they used okay so why does so many users develop products for themselves because many have custom needs when you do a meta analysis of market segmentation studies which are sort of studies that companies do to say well there's the luxury part of our market and there's the utility partner listen to that when you actually study where the the sort of the amount of variance that is within each of these five or so clusters that they generate versus between them what you find is that half the variance is is within segments in other words there are a lot of people that are pretty miserable with what people are selling them who are buying stuff because what manufacturers want to do is they simply want to get a standard product that will induce you to buy that's better than anything else out there and that's all it has to be it doesn't have to be best for your needs it just has to be our the best option and when you actually look at people who are settling for the best option the best option is often not very good so people start to innovate for their own purposes now what we know about user innovation we know that many users innovate we know that users tend to develop functionally novel innovations and manufacturers tend to develop dimension of movements and users that innovate tend to be lead users let me tell you a bit about that first of all it's not true that users are the only innovators always innovating I thought this is so cool I'm not a great fan of marketing research so I thought this was so cool when I first saw in that first study up there scientific instruments that 80% of these things were done by users I thought yes but then I went down and began to look at other areas and what we found was damn in some other areas in fact manufacturers innovate so making lemonade out of lemons what you can then do is say aha isn't this more you can say I can now sort of study this variation and I can try to understand why in some areas users are just standing there not innovating in other areas they are part of it has to do with we did a lot of analysis of this part of it has to do with our economic benefit for instance engineering plastics you can see here are largely done by users and manufacturers and the reason is that users don't really care a lot typically an engineering plastic that's new is a replacement for an existing engineering material at some slightly lower cost so a user is not really driven into a corner in a way that they have to innovate in order to get done what they need to get done in other areas as you'll see in a minute users do have to so users tend to develop functionally novel innovations like the first scientific instrument of a new type the first sports nutrition bra manufacturers tend to develop dementia merit improvements so for example when when when I was looking at functional foods for some reason this since escapes me they're longer for power bars and those things that you eat or you made the Olympic athletes and their trainers we're developing these equivalents some were the Navy SEALs because they really needed this stuff and they are such finely tuned athletes that they could actually sort of run along and say yeah I jump a millimeter higher if I eat this sort of combination of ingredients so long before the manufacturer came out with that stuff the users have sorted it out and then the manufacturers made it better tasting and so on uh now here you see some data on this again new functional capability users dimension of Merit improvements manufacturers now a dimension of merit improvement is basically once you know that the user wants a certain thing sometimes the user states what he wants in dimensional terms so for example you would have I want the FASTA scan possible well you know I really don't want a laptop like this I want you know the computer embedded in my eyelash and so what the manufacturers are doing is steadily moving down these dimensional statements as fast as technology will allow and that's something manufacturers are pretty good at they're pretty good at sort of moving down a particular solution path so now why is that the case why the user manufacturer innovations differ has to do with sticky information information needed by developers maybe tacit for example marketing research assumes that what we have as you know if we have a need the manufacturer can come and via marketing research learn what it is but in fact it's awfully hard to transfer information information is as I say sticky so for example of my son there's now 10 about four years ago I taught him how to ride a bike and I know how to ride a bike and so I noticed myself teaching him in a bizarre way I mean yelling useless information right anyway that rule is that the reason even though I knew perfectly well how to do it I couldn't tell him because in fact the information was encoded in my muscles it wasn't sort of something that I had learned to express in in verbal terms and transmitted to him that way so there's lots of information is tacit it's also true that there's just lots of information too rich to transfer so now stick information again again the question about users and manufacturers why do they have different innovations so here we have over here need information which the users tend to know in their context of use and here we have solution information you have to put them together somehow and so what you see is basically that the conventional wisdom is that the manufacturer will bring in need information from the user that's the top circle a box there that's the standard that the manufacturer will bring it in and the user and design something but in some cases in fact then the that if the information on this side about the need is stickier then logically to reduce cost what you want to do is shift the information the solution information here so one of the wonderful things about it arm I mean oh remember this thing about there there's a there's a box that you use when you're surf casting I don't always call with you you pull out your line too so that you don't have the resistance of the reel when you're casting you pull out the amount of line you think you need and you drop it into this little box and you cast now there was a big issue about how you shake this box so that it doesn't get in the way of your arm and stuff like that and these manufacturers were standing around saying things like oh imagine you're at the ocean and imagine the waves are such and such an imagine you knew how to fish well I was required to adjust the back was a pair of shears you know so instead of trying to figure out how the heck those people are going to use the box why not give a pair of shears to the fishermen and let the fishermen adjust the box himself and so that's this kind of issue here you go to where the information is where the sticky information resides now one of the consequences of that is that you see not only user and manufacturer innovations differing but you see that the innovations differ among different users so here's a cool one I don't know if you ever do anything you know about this Camelbak thing do you know what that some of you yeah okay well they used to be called canteens but now of course their hydration systems I'm talk it's a bag of water basically and there's a tube that you could so you put on this that bag of water like a backpack and there's a tube and you suck through the tube now where did that come from many people use him now camelbaks patented personal hydration system was invented in 1988 by a Texas paramedic Michael Edison to prevent dehydration during a summer bike race he fashioned a drinking system for surgical tubing in an IV bag now the point was this person combined two things he had solution technology that was in his EMS truck ready I like an IV bag and he was a biker in the summer so he happened to combine in a very useful way those need in solution informations and produce and innovation that a result of this kind of localness then is that innovation is widely distributed first of all what have I said so far when users innovate where a lot of a lot of innovations are done by users user innovations tend to be functionally novel we now understand why this is namely the information that users have have to has to do with functionality and need tend to be functionally novel and users tend to use the information that they themselves have locally consequence innovation is widely distributed there's not a super user out there that comes up with lots of innovations instead what you have is individual users or individual firms with particular sets of needs coming up with something now that means that you don't necessarily know in advance you know what a company will often say is well if we see the users innovate that's quite nice we'll simply acquire a user and he'll innovate for us but that's not the issue here you can't necessarily tell who the innovator is going to be until in fact that innovation occurs because you don't really know what that combination that is fruitful will turn out to be okay the underlying logic is the same as their agreement here's when he coined Linus's law how many of you know Linus's law you must some yeah mm-hmm it's an open-source software give it enough set of give it enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow given a large enough beta tester and coda the bass almost every problem will be characterized quickly in a fix obvious to someone each user approaches the task for both characterization with a slightly different perceptual set and analytical toolkit different angle on the problem so adding more beta-testers increases the probability is somebody's toolkit match the problem such a way that the bugs will shout out to that person Xiaomi is easy to solve okay now another item here lead users lead users have needs that foreshadow general demand this is just a definition made up out of the ear a few years ago and it was simply combining two characteristics one character each the boss of bottom one was basically necessity as the mother invention that in words people who need something a lot you know the economics shows tend to do something about it the next piece was that the users that manufacturers would care about and that other users would care about are lead users namely those that have needs that foreshadow general demand in the marketplace so the point there is if you think about it that why was Tim berners-lee innovation interesting it was interesting because it was generally important after a while so we wanted to get out that subset of users so basically you have dimensions I'm gonna what this shows I'm gonna start to go faster I can see now I'm in deep deep deep deep deep trouble okay so so here are users all of your users of printed circuit boards this is a printed circuit board and the use here is to lay out these printed circuit boards the dimension here the head of the demand where the market is going is that people are trying to make these boards denser and denser they're trying to smash them together make them smaller if you look you find something very interesting if you say do they have the two characteristics of lead users namely are they at the front of the high-density trend that's one of the characteristics and those are actual measures of things number of layers and so on and do they have a high need for an improved system you find something quite remarkable namely did you build your own system 80% yes of the lead users essentially nobody and the other ones so what you have is a concentration we did not expect our users who are innovating at the front end and at the same time these people are the most useful user innovators so there's some data on this and if the larger the circle the more attractive the innovation commercially and so that's what you see basically the two characteristics of the users expected benefit goes up more user innovation user position on the trend goes up are more attractiveness the diameter of the orange is is the attractiveness commercially okay so now what happens we have the beginnings of a new innovation system basically users tend to innovate at the leading edge of markets we said that innovation is concentrated amongst lead users where demand is small and uncertain so what we have is basically users innovating when manufacturers don't necessarily want to be there innovating on novel things manufacturers look over they say we don't understand that market at all and it's tiny anyway and manufacturers are more secure and can producing volume when in fact it gets somewhat over here so the idea to make the innovation process more effective would be to say ok what we have here is a process of looking here traditionally bad idea let's look here and then let's wait a bit and see and choose your entry point when you want to in fact produce this thing what you see is that over time and I'll show you in a minute you end up with user communities so user at first of individual user innovates then of multiples of users innovate and pretty soon you can start to see what the commercially attractive ones are going to be and then manufacture have their uncertainty reduced and can go on and do something about it so here's an example um Rodya cocking something that you all are specialized in anyway rodeo kayak here no yes you yes right it he says okay where your hiking so what are your kayaking is something that only Bob would do it amounts to basically many many years ago people were trying to stay out of whitewater because their carts would get destroyed and then they began to decide they would get into whitewater because that was much more fun and gradually over time the nature of the kayak that was was most appropriate for this purpose became this form here and moved on from here and here so what you have here is a set of innovations and what you can see is that in fact when you study these industries that's the pattern that I mentioned you first first users innovate they develop all these things and then they become manufactured products now I'm going to jump across that now this is something that you all know the thing that begins to make there's something very interesting and useful for manufacturers and pour the innovation process as a whole is the fact that users freely reveal their innovations generally we've done Studies on an open source people have done Studies on it users freely reveal typically what they develop now that's terrific because if you're thinking about this from an economic perspective when manufacturers innovate are you walking oh poor guy my sympathies well you missed the whole thing you read the book okay you can see if it's the same story okay so now in this area you know users when they freely reveal you have something where you don't have to reinvent each time if each user kept it secret then from a system point of view you wouldn't have a really efficient overall innovation system if each user innovated then every user that have the same need would have to do it again if the innovation were kept secret and the manufacturer would have the comparative advantage because manufacturer innovating wants might keep something about a secret but still would sell it to everybody so that people would not have to innovate and re innovate again and again so our people here have in fact studied this as I have and we have as two reasons why people freely reveal their innovations and it turns out that basically the options for making money and Licensing them are relatively cumbersome relative to the benefits you can get by freely revealing one of the benefits you get from freely revealing is are that you can innovate collaboratively in communities so now let's see if I have here so now here we have a history basically we have users starting to open a design space they innovate they'll do something very quickly they join into communities and share their innovations then what happens over time is that the volume increases and manufacturers begin to produce this stuff so we've begun to explore what goes on in these communities and manufacturers are trying to hook up to these communities and it's sort of fascinating it's just in the process of being worked on now but it's so interesting because manufacturers in general don't know how to work with these communities at all you know so they'll do something they're like in the rodeo kayaking community they'll say this is so cool that you are innovating we are so proud of you is so wonderful you all collaborate don't you oh yes we love each other deeply well that's really good because now what we're gonna do is we're gonna give the best of you we're gonna select t-shirts with our company name on it and you can start to mess with our next generation vote but don't tell anybody else so in effect they come in and they corrupt the community the very thing that they wanted to see happen namely sort of collective innovation it's like the Russians in the old days when they would shoot any peasant that put his head up basically every time the best for the best stands up they say yes we'll take you out of the community and make you one of ours hailing so it's clearly a rap that has to be learned here about how the communities can best be manages managed now but still there's a fascinating thing going on which is that this kind of innovation amongst communities with the Internet is getting to the point where it is driving manufacturers back out of product design even when manufacturers are established in product design they're driving them back out and I think this is just so cool so there was a story I'll tell you the story about kite surfing this is what kite surfing equipment looks like I'm sure there's 17 kite surfers in this group this is correct I'm not either but this is what cuts or thing is and the history so what it is is basically is looping along on a board like this in that sense it's surfing but what you're doing is you're in a really big man powered kite and the man power kite is so big that it can lift you off the ground see those people they're off the water and all these wires here and so on are to control a kite and steer it and you can go you know tens of meters into the air so you might as well know how to manage your kite because dropping down is not considered a great idea considered a reverse parachute now the users developed this stuff and then in this pattern I showed you earlier the manufacturers began to move in here 100 million dollar market and the manufacturers began to each hire one or two engineers and they started to produce kites along came a guy named Saul Griffith who's that was at MIT he graduated last year and he was a mad kite surfer he would even certain the Charles River ah which is certain breath if you fall in and so what he did was he began to post these innovations on a kite surfing website called zero prestige comm and he would post these things and others would begin to post them and all the damnedest stuff would come up like a a group in Russia was making them out of out of trash bags and so on and so forth and so on and so forth and people are making better designs the manufacturers is what happened after a bit the fascinating thing was that when you looked at the composition of the the site these people were much better than the manufacturers technically they were actually kite surfers and they were also very dynamicists from from general dynamics or aerodynamicist from nasa or their aerodynamicist from MIT and here are the companies with these poor three or four you know MBA engineers or something like that you know and like so they developed tools that actually it turns out to be quite sophisticated low speed aerodynamics is not a well understood aerial and these kites are going quite slowly and so basically there's all sorts of waters ease and so on they began the model is Stafford it was just incredible and when you call it the manufacturers they say I don't know anyway so then they began to post their designs and they learned that they could post their designs in CAD files which then could be produced in sail lofts with latest laser cutters so basically what would happen would be this is a sketch an early one but later they began to post them in CAD files and you could actually just send this code file off to your local sail loft they would cut the stuff for you and you could make a kite for a bow 20% of the cost of a purchased one so again what happened was that the manufacturers began to be driven back from design now this is to be very interesting because this is first of all a physical product you know an open source we sort of see it in information products but the products are increasingly information products later and later in their design cycle because what they're doing is exchanging CAD files and so this is a relatively possibly general thing it also means that what you've got here is this kind of democratized innovation where people are innovating from different angles and producing and contributing and so on and moving things forward rapidly so it can be very cool life where in fact we can finally design what we really want manufacturers can then can start to pick off the stuff that people are in general want know learning about doing to be incredibly cheap for users within their own now in each of doing you know what you're doing there is you're figuring out how to do things and it's you know it would be very hard for a manufacture observer to figure out what was going on there say ha what you need is a okay now what we're focusing on those companies is user innovation communities we're just sort of very interested in that and companies as I said are having a very difficult time with it so far so any of you know about Lego Mindstorms do you know about that yeah is that cool well Lego Mindstorms was built sort of was worked with Lego and MIT and there were about three engineers and Lego who worked on it for some large number of years like seven years and what it is is basically lever blocks that have different kinds of electronics in them as well so there's a CPU and there's all this sort of stuff there's sensors and so on so you can get this stuff to to build it into robots that respond to temperature and light and touch and the kids can program it well about you on a bus they expected 8 to 13 year-olds to buy it so after three engineers seven years twenty-one nine years they introduced this thing they said tah-dah which is what you're saying within three weeks a thousand hackers were working on it and a thousand is more than three and what happened was backs me up anyway what happens was that they vastly improved it almost instantly so they then began to sort of publish what they'd done on the web so here's one of the things you do with this thing is whether your sensor you follow a track like this you build up a robot you follow track and one of the contests is how rapidly you can get around this track of tape and they began to publish how much better their stuff was in the Lego stuff so the winner using hacker develops software under 10 seconds second place below right user program based on Lego firmware time of 25 seconds we are better basically mine sort of sales it helped Lego there says grating surpassed their expectations 72% of the customers will rage 18:01 what they expected craze among techy adults Silicon Valley firms forced to ban Legos at work anyway major university is bill curricular on Lego we have we have something like that at MIT sort of hacker you know it's a great way to let people hack and then let them unable to keep up with demand and so on says much higher what was the response of Lego there was almost a full year without a word with Lego neither acknowledgement of what was going on nor threats toward the hackers they didn't know what to do they were deer in the headlights yes oh well now about 10 years later they have started to understand this and what you see now is the first generation of painful understanding by companies of this new transition where the users are much more active in innovation than they used to be and the manufacturers build it so they have now posted something just a week ago called the leg factory where they are urging people to design stuff that they might then build as kids and of course are they have a lego Digital Designer which is a virtual thing and so on and I had my students try it out and of course it's nowhere near as good as the hacker thing they could have just taken the hacker virtual but no anyway but they're on their way now better practice when you think about it here's static cooperation any of you use static software you know anyway some you do you have it status software are basically Stata is starting to be systematic about this statistical software for academics and so on and started realized that they are not the ones who develop the new tests it's the epidemiologist this one the people who need the tests the statisticians and so on people are trying to do something so what they did was they developed the core product which they could project and then basically users could build modules onto that and or run them so what happened was users did that what you're seeing here is a hybrid model of sort of proprietary and open users built modules the manufacturer then looked at the user site where these modules were freely revealed and said we can see which ones of those are most popular and the ones that are most popular we will incorporate into our product so simple the users build this thing they exchange it with each other you can observe the patterns of activity and you can decide which ones you then want to make as a commercial product and interesting enough diva haha took a look at these Stata people and what they feel about this and the users and they feel delighted this is a true symbiotic relationship it's not that they feel ripped off basically the users one of the things that happens when you design a statistical test is that the users that but you have to validate it you have to sort of test it out across a wide range of conditions and no statistician likes to do is a pain in the neck but it's sort of embarrassing if you release it and it works well in your area and it doesn't work at somebody else's and they get mad at you so they're quite happy but Stata does the hard work of QC and test validation by the way they also rewrite the user code as they do that thus gaining the copyright and integrate it into the core product but they fully acknowledge the user innovations they say this is Joe's test isn't Joe clever send me ten bucks so good say it's it's one of the forms now of user manufacturer collaboration that are being worked out you see it's also an online computer game manufacturers giving users tools to develop game mods this on again this is the first generation in these things so the first thing that happened not so long ago was not that manufacturers said this is a cool idea this is the way we should go what happened was the users cracked to some existing games started to build mods the manufacturers noticed that everybody else was adopting their mods and playing them instead of a games the manufacturer built so the manufacturer said ok we're got a controller it's called the engine software and not let the users mess with that that's the thing which basically computes when you throw a barrel that occurs like this or you can throw a spear or whatever it is and then the user devises everything like are we talking about kids throwing spitballs in the library or are we talking about outer space creatures and flying stuff so so that's the story again that I would argue that we're shifting from this kind of an argument which is really a broken paradigm as I say most innovations the manufacturers attempt fail and they tend to fail because they don't understand user need to this kind of symbiotic story where users who really need something innovate and then manufacturers pick it up there's something really cool going on now which is I'm really happy about their policy locations this is so cool the Danish government has gone ahead and now made user innovation and national priority strengthening user driven innovation and knowledge diffusion the government develop a particular sorrysorrysorry so they are so so we're now going to within university of copenhagen and the government over there and so and we're going to try to do this on a national small nation i confess about trying to do this on a national scale and then if it messes up we will quiet at least creep away you know but anyway anyway it's certain companies are perceiving that it's a problem and and so on now we have a couple of options here one is what one is i was going to tell you a bit about French chefs but like a non fool last night I had dinner with James and Artie and so on and I said so what do you think about this thing and they said wow that's very new and I said oh it is yes you said that certainly no more than thirty thousand articles on that and so did each other you know is about norms and French chefs and so on and and because I'm very interested now in communities and how they behave so we were just stumbling across this kind of behavior so they looked at each other and they said so I said was there anything on this and they said no nothing on French chef yes Estonian chefs yes but nothing on friendships so I think I could tell you some data on that but I think maybe that the two options here one is you can ask some questions and have comments we have seven minutes left in other ways I can show you seven minutes of downtown and z-boys which shows you an actual user community so any questions you really really horrible open-source software out there I think the reason that these communities gives a lot of disabilities because there's so much larger than everything and they don't have to go to a lot of the separate manufacturers you mean that with things like quality assurance there's also things like liability they don't have to worry about but studies in computer science showing that popularity of a lot of things that website but also of course projects like UPS Worldport follow of qui sont hype distribution we have a very few very popular very large you the community but then tremendous amounts have essentially deadwood yet that's out there so I I think I see that I was could you address whether the reason that these user communities are so accessible is just because there's so much larger compared to the manufacturers or is there just something inherently smarter about these user communities than the manufacturers well when you study where when used to actually study we've been lots of and other people have done lots of studies of open source when you study what you find out is that the the core community you know the guys with with a commit license as opposed to the periphery have different functions the periphery tends to come up with some new stuff they need and the core tends to make it faster cleaner neater please now so there is a benefit of being able to innovate yourself and get what you want a second issue is the other people want it to now the fact that a community is small and the static community is small too doesn't mean it's not serving a function for those folks the equivalent of a very large community might serve a very large and general need that the real freedom you're getting here is that whatever the scale of need you can get something for it now there are also sort of hobby projects that serve nobodies need in particular and there's a lot of the dead word is sort of you know I mean not all projects are successful is because users doing I mean but the idea is that you're not having a manufacturer speculate on what will be successful in investing in your having users for purposes of their own making private investments but their firms or individuals and and so uh and you know can make that determination for themselves yeah I did I did those figures of the there have been some on open source communities it depends it in the open source tends to be it does it is not all kids you know of thirteen years of age it is it is a lot of them of professionals programmers who are doing it on the side and so on and I can send you a study like that some of these things are very much a function of who needs it who's a user so in these sports communities they're younger in the static community they're older and in fact in the skateboarding community a lot more age thirteen just just a parentheses which is not at all what you're asking about no parentheses do you know escape words are now like this wide right everyone whatever they are like that and they start out this one and there were two metaphors that you put scape things under and the reason they first got this wide was because kids were making these things and making for each other and one kid kept on taking the last one he'd done and drawing around that one with a pencil to make the next one so each pair McDonnell Pence it with build and and people started coming back and saying those are cool words and that was the observation that then led to the water board becoming a standard so inside this and I'm curious as to how patents fit into all of this do companies but that approach these user communities then try to get patents and do they aim that he's community members as inventors you have any sense of in your studies of how that works so a future Carl wanted somebody saying in one of your conferences that in some cases the manufacturer actually patent the stuff and exclude the users from using the particular innovation or attempt to get nepai to use the particular thing well they are evil to the core there's no question about it the the it depends again on the community like medical communities okay they will tend to patent and sports communities yes sports communities will not in part because uh it's unlikely and in public isn't really revealing is there's a community thing everybody's seeing what you're doing you've got a new bike they take a look they say that's really cool so it differs by community but it's not a big deal it's not a big deal in general the Danish government that's out there encouraging people to do this is probably also I've learned Geneva posing the recognition of traditional north of innovation that we know if you think about agriculture innovation always been done the same way I wonder if you thought about in in line with on if you thought of that waste of incentive these user communities in ways that don't hurt the community that could make it more systemic that was everything that that you and other people have talked about is this romantic anarchism how it all works out so beautifully that I'm hoping it doesn't and something they fail and we have no real records of these anarchic communities surviving very long so in the case that we might need something more systematic Michael not find some way these acuities in a way that might draw more user communities into the into it not just for the purposes but for purposes of systematic participation and in a way that they could be compensated I submit that we can and your studies are a great encouragement that's cool I mean it may be two things one is because we found this community phase is so important we're now studying that and so there's a paper I gave it at football yesterday and West can give you a copy on sort of some of the economics that drive the users and the manufacturers and so on at the the other thing is you've got to remember that this is different from open science then things science has traditionally required subsidies from outside because they're not using their findings these people are using this stuff and so it's not obvious on the face of it that additional incentive is needed what happens when you end up with communities that form spontaneously is that the people but need it most are the ones who are working on it so for example at the there was development of a new medical thing a way to better give drugs without mistakes and this is a community amongst medical hospitals with people who are especially concerned it's not obvious that they need more funding although that's again an important variable we'd have to think about don't you get that though you start to worry about things like you know who gets the credit who gets the money what you know it becomes difficult no because they get private benefit from use see I'm sorry go ahead you

3 Comments

  1. cmcgrath5 said:

    Is there anywhere where the slides are available? They are a bit blurry in the video, thanks!

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  2. Erica Rogers said:

    Great talk.

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  3. Joel Ward said:

    Eric is a true futurist that does not follow, he leads, a true innovator….

    June 29, 2019
    Reply

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