The Sources of Innovation is functionally a companion volume to MIT Professor Eric von Hippel’s later work, Democratizing Innovation, that focuses on users as sources of innovation. In The Sources of Innovation he takes a wide look at a company’s entire supply chain, from material inputs competitors and users, and isolates cases where innovation has come from all.
Von Hippel has changed the debate about innovation, but arguably not enough attention has been given to his work. Too much of the current literature continues to focus on traditional sources of innovation, all of which suggests that a wise competitor would look beyond its own resources for useful and novel ideas.
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