Pioneering by Free Innovators (Chapter 4)

As has already been discussed, the incentives and behaviors of innovators acting within the free innovation paradigm differ fundamentally from those of innovators acting within the producer innovation paradigm. As a consequence, innovation outcomes created within the two paradigms should also systematically differ. Indeed, identifying and clarifying such differences is a major value the free innovation paradigm can provide. In chapter 4, I illustrate this important point by showing that there are basic differences in the types of innovations developed, and in the timing of innovations developed, within the two paradigms. Free innovators, being self-rewarding, are free to follow their own interests. Unlike producers, they need not work only on projects they expect the market to reward. They therefore generally pioneer functionally new applications and markets prior to producers understanding the opportunity. Producer innovators generally enter later, after the nature and the commercial potential of markets have become clear (Riggs and von Hippel 1994; Baldwin, Hienerth, and von Hippel 2006).

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