Personality Traits of Successful Free Innovators


Recall from the national surveys summarized in chapter 2 that from 1.5 percent to 6.1 percent of individuals in six countries develop new or modified products for their own use. This is in some ways an impressive figure, representing tens of millions of free innovators in just those six countries. But another way to look at it is that 94-98 percent of individuals in those countries are not free innovators, or perhaps try to innovate but fail. Two questions then arise: Are there differences between individuals who successfully carry out innovation projects in the household sector and those who do not? And, if there are differences, can we do anything to increase the amount of successful free innovation?

In this chapter, I draw upon a study by Stock, von Hippel, and Gillert (2016) to identify personality traits significantly associated with successful free innovation in the household sector. Based on these findings, my colleagues and I suggest two possible ways to increase the amount of successful free innovation.

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