Sampsa Hyysalo & Svetlana Usenyuk:

The user dominated technology era: Dynamics of dispersed peer-innovation

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Users invent new products and product categories, but the assumption has been that manufacturers will supplant users if their innovation is of value to many. The current paper examines Russian all terrain vehicles “karakats” to discuss a case of an era of extended user dominated technology and the related dynamics of dispersed peer-innovation. Karakat users have invented, modified, diversified and iterated this technology, as well as continued to self-build and self-maintain it. These vehicles are wide spread, have half a century of history and hundreds of design variants. Despite this, manufacturers have captured only a small subsection of the karakat market, albeit they have established new markets based on karakat principles. We find that the combinatory effect of previously known dynamics in user innovation research and science and technology studies offers a plausible explanation for the user dominance and dispersed peer innovation pattern, and manufacturers’ failure to conquer the market.

Keywords: User innovation; Peer production; Innovation; Diffusion; Innofusion; Configuration; Bricolage; Biography of artifacts; User practices

Hyysalo, S., & Usenyuk, S. (2015). The user dominated technology era: Dynamics of dispersed peer-innovation. Research Policy, 44(3), 560–576. doi:10.1016/j.respol.2015.01.002