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User input is not universally welcomed or indeed universally helpful.
The aim of this essay is to examine whether the user engagement is helpful to innovation progress or not. In this way, the main issue of this essay are discussions on the lectures around user engagements and the influence. In spite of most people would believe that user inputs are one of good elements for innovation progress in general prerequisites, there are some arguments indicate that it is less useful, unhelpful and even not universally welcome.
For the purpose of comparing the arguments, the study will first discuss the pros and cons of user input to innovation and then take several other factors into account, last but not the least, the conclusion will be revealed to summarize the study. The results of this study would contribute to the innovation management literature as to whether or not users have a great impact from the participation and other factors of modern innovation procedure, and in this case, user inputs. Furthermore, by exploring the key points and the factors, we will then present the comparison and discuss the objective results with reference to the following literature.
Innovation and users:
According to Eric Von Hippel (2005), sources of innovation can be differed in some major consequences for innovation producers, which can be divided into the organization of research, developing, marketing, and the other one is management tools. There are many ways where practical or potential users can influence technological transform activities to producers, and in some sections in which the user has deep and particular knowledge, it is the user him or herself who is often turns out to be the originator of technological innovations nowadays. At the level of emerging technological trajectory planning, early user involvement has potential for influencing future directions of technological change through helping to shape the basic research agenda. For instance, close commercial relationships between leading research universities and companies are influencing basic research in biotechnology, especially in the USA. (Rothwell, R.Issues, 1994)
In terms of firms and individuals, they can all benefit from innovations as innovation developer, or each other, and so on. As we will see in this essay, any functional key is a potential source of innovation under appropriate conditions. (Von Hippel, E, 1988)
In terms of companies and individuals, they are not only supplier and consumer but also mutualistic, individuals can help firms to improve product by their own experience and then they will have better experience when using products. This is the reason why consumers, they gradually and increasingly take part in firms’ production and service delivery processes actively and directly. Consumers have become more like coworkers with experience, who take over specific parts of a production process that ultimately remains under the control of a commercial enterprise. (Kleemann et al., 2008)
Weak point of user input:
Henkel and von Hippel (2005) explored the social welfare implications of user innovation. They found that, relative to a world in which only manufacturers innovate, social welfare is very probably increased by the presence of innovations freely revealed by users. This finding implies that the policy making should support user innovation, or at least should ensure that legislation and regulations do not favor manufacturers at the cost of user innovators. Since manufacturers have more resources and developers, especially when it compares with individuals. Individuals can barely use their restricted knowledge and most of them are lack of sources. It is also important to note that users and manufacturers tend to build prototypes of their innovations economically by modifying products already available on the market to serve a new purpose, it can help them save a lot of time to develop the markets and certainly easier than be the pioneer.
Furthermore, manufactures and firms need to share information with individuals to let consumers help them improve products. It has been criticized for being asymmetrical in terms of its sharing of information (Hart et al., 1997), exclusory (Atkinson, 1999), limited with respect to actual involvement (Anastacio et al., 2000), selective in terms of who is deemed to be a suitable participant (Anastacio et al., 2000) and a blatant attempt to manage the form and content of input rather than to encourage open interaction (Jackson, 1999; Jones, 2003).
User experience is not always helpful or useful. This lends credence goods and post-experience good to the larger argument by giving the impression that the options are mutually exclusive, even though this is not the case. It is precisely the simplicity and the certainty of this logic that has enabled the design of a dichotomy. If something is not true, surely it must be false; if something is not false, surely it must be true.
In another word, if something goes wrong, then surely the opposite must be right. This sharp polarization allows no middle ground. However, something may be partially true and partially false (Trott and Hartmann, 2009). Another point is that new products or service can also be constrained by users because they are so familiar with their present experience that they are reluctant to accept the unfamiliar and novel concept, customers are already used to the original one. (Rothwell,1994)
Lastly, in some case studies, like process equipment for instance, decisions made by users to develop their own equipment do not appear to people to be motivated by such make or buy savings. Instead, innovating users appear to be motivated by considerations of increased profits they may gain by having better equipment than that available to competitors. That is to say, they seem to be motivated primarily by considerations of innovation-related rents. (Von Hippel, E, 1988)
Strong point of user input:
In a research of users and the security features of Apache web server software, Franke and von Hippel (2003) have revealed that users always have a very high demand of heterogeneity, and that may let them have a high willingness to pay or engage directly in development to get precisely what they wanted. There are nineteen percent of the users sampled innovated to tailor Apache more closely to their needs. Those who did were found to be significantly more satisfied, and therefore, it explains that why customers are willing to join the improvement and the results are more likely to be perfect and helpful. (Von Hippel, E, 2005)
According to the essay written by Eric Von Hippel(2005), it defines an innovator as the firm or individual that first developed a sampled innovation to a state proved functionally useful, proof of functional usefulness was documented use of the innovation in commercial production. Moreover, all the innovations selected for study were commercially successful, with commercial success being defined as near-universal adoption by process users in the few years following the innovation’s debut. It proves that either individual or firm are important and helpful to the process of innovation.
Importantly, some of the meta-analysis of market segment studies suggest that users’ needs for products are highly heterogeneous in many fields (Franke and Reisinger, 2003). Hence, with user input, there are private benefits to assist developers and manufacturers to make products be heterogeneous, just as there are some supports from those who freely reveal innovations, it can also be known that provision of free assistance may be explicable in terms of the private-collective model of product innovation related incentives discussed earlier. (Lakhani and von Hippel, 2003) This aspect points out that user input brings some weaknesses along with it to innovation, but more of the contributions from user input are helpful and useful to firms and consumers.
In addition, another significant aspect of user input is as the existing customer designs originate from peers who faced a duplicate circumstance, they should exhibit a wide variety of attractive and up-to-date designs. Therefore, they can foster creativity in the individual toolkit users (Purcell and Gero, 1996). For the firms and manufacturers, the usage of designs generated by customers, like the opposed to professional designers, it brings the concrete cost advantages, as a research has shown that most user community members are usually willing to support each other with free of charge (Jeppesen, 2005; Jeppesen and Frederiksen, 2006; Jeppesen and Molin, 2003) and often freely reveal their designs to the public(Jeppesen and Frederiksen, 2006). This makes existing peer-based solution chunks a potentially helpful, and at the same time inexpensive, both indicate that user support is good and useful to the innovation process. (Jeppesen, 2005)
In all cases studied, it did appear obviously that innovating firms could reasonably anticipate higher profits than non-innovating firms. The reasons for such differences varied from industry to industry. Interesting hints of general underlying principles did emerge, however, and sometimes these were related to the functional relationship between innovator and innovation. For instance, users often had an advantage over other types of potential innovator with respect to protecting process equipment innovations from imitators (Von Hippel, E, 1988).
Moreover, in some investigational studies of user involvement in new business-to-business (B2B) service area, especially in the financial service industry, Alam (2002) reveals that the investigated companies deemed user involvement at the idea generation stage to be one of the most important factors of improving items. The framework introduced by Alam (2002) is a good start, although it will likely have to be redefined as the research frontier progress. Based on Alam’s framework, the user involvement studied in the article can be characterized as having the object of generating some ideas for new end user internet service. Alam describes this as a continuum right from passive listening to extremely intense when the user is included in the part of the development team.
It is also noticeable that while some people may be a little doubt that user-producer interactions are an important factor in determining innovatory success, not all users have the similar value in this respect. There are absolutely advantages to select as partners users who are technically competent and innovative in their own right. Furthermore, people who has a proven track record in the successful adoption as well as the use of innovative new devices are sometimes amateur users (Rothwell, R, 1994). All of the above, it can be said that user input is a strong support to the industry, and user experience can be a good resource and help developer to improve and sort problems.
To sum up, it is no doubt to say that user input has a great impact on the innovation procedure and active user engagements has been contributing not only to the improvements and specifications of products but also the market, make the marketing widen than before and more specialized. However, in the meantime, the effect of use engagement can be a weakness to the product innovation by many other elements such as restriction from government policy (patent) and different controversy (internet and user privacy), different user groups and so forth.
In practical terms, I would like to say that there are so many prerequisites may restrict innovation progress, but user engagement is and will be the most practical way to improve the product as well as customer experience. Furthermore, there will be more and more customers join the innovation when the products can be freely updating and improving. Therefore, in the innovation progress, user engagement is indeed universally helpful to it.
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