Discussion

We have seen that a number of factors can significantly affect innovators' likelihood of success at completing three basic stages in the process of developing and diffusing an innovation. In the main, the findings are intuitively very reasonable with respect to both the control variables we included in the study and personality traits. For example, it makes sense that individuals who have lots of unserved needs will more be likely to have ideas about how to solve them and thus succeed at the ideation phase of innovation. And it makes sense that if those unserved needs are strong, an individual will be more motivated to at least attempt to build a prototype, other things being equal. More generally, it makes sense that having the skills, resources, and personality traits appropriate to completing a certain stage of innovation will make successful completion of that stage more likely.

Is there a way to convert these findings into practical ways to increase levels of successful innovation in the household sector? At first glance things do not look too promising, as most of the control variables and the personality variables in table 9.1 are not easy to adjust. Consider that increasing one's level of technical education requires a major personal investment. Further, personality traits are essentially stable in adulthood. And, if one does not have an inspiring home environment, changing that will probably not be easy either.

However, my research colleagues and I think there are two accomplishable approaches that are likely to yield major benefits. First, one can encourage collaboration, so that people can help one another "fill in their personal gaps” in resources, training, or personalities. Second, one can use technical advances now available to free innovators to make innovation development and diffusion tasks both less demanding and less trait-specific.

 
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