Democratising Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger writes:

I recently attended a lecture by Eric von Hippel on Democratizing Innovation. Von Hippel is Professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Head of its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group. The lecture was based on his book of the same title, which is also available as a free download.

In his own words: “When I say that innovation is being democratized, I mean that users of products and services – both firms and individual consumers – are increasingly able to innovate for themselves. User-centered innovation processes offer great advantages over the manufacturing-centric innovation development systems that have been the mainstay of commerce for hundreds of years. Users that innovate can develop exactly what they want, rather than relying on manufacturers to act as their (often very imperfect) agents. Moreover, individual users do not have to develop everything they need on their own: they can benefit from innovations developed and freely shared by others.” The book includes a number of concrete empirical studies, as well as extensive market research and statistics to support his arguments.

Video Services

Jon Udell writes:

The vast majority of friends-and-family videos will never exceed 50 views a month, for which fifteen cents a month is effectively free. And even at 500 views a month, you’ll hardly notice the buck fifty.

But what if your video becomes popular? The top 20 videos on YouTube on any given day average about 50,000 views, and you’d certainly notice the hundred and fifty bucks that would cost on S3, not to mention the thousands you’d pay for a month of that level of interest.

For a variety of reasons, I’ve been thinking about the kinds of services provided by S3 and by video sites like YouTube, and about how such services might fruitfully combine.