Von Hippel: Democratizing Innovation

I meant to do this quite some time ago, but it slipped my mind (like most things). So here it is: a free download of Democratizing Innovation by MIT’s Eric Von Hippel.
The table of contents:
1 Introduction and Overview
2 Development of Products by Lead Users
3 Why Many Users Want Custom Products
4 Users’ Innovate-or-Buy Decisions
5 Users’ Low-Cost Innovation Niches
6 Why Users Often Freely Reveal Their Innovations
7 Innovation Communities
8 Adapting Policy to User Innovation
9 Democratizing Innovation
10 Application: Searching for Lead User Innovations
11 Application: Toolkits for User Innovation and Custom Design
12 Linking User Innovation to Other Phenomena and Fields
Here’s why I keep going back to this book:
Firms can make a profitable business from identifying and mass producing user-developed innovations or developing and building new products based on ideas drawn from such innovations. They can gain advantages over competitors by learning to do this better than other manufacturers. They may, for example, learn to identify commercially promising user innovations more effectively that other firms. Firms using lead user search techniques … are beginning to do this systematically rather than accidentally—surely an improvement. Effectively transferring user-developed innovations to mass manufacture is seldom as simple as producing a product based on a design by a single lead user. Often, a manufacturer combines features developed by several independent lead users to create an attractive commercial offering. This is a skill that a company can learn better than others in order to gain a competitive advantage.”

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