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User Innovation – Empirical Evidence from Russia

Zaytseva A. S., Meissner D., Shuvalova O. R.
Innovations are commonly seen as resulting from the commercialization of  new ideas and technological goods by dedicated organizations, especially firms. This conception is reflected in a producer-oriented  approach to science, technology and innovation policy making (STI). However a new understanding of the role of users within innovation processes is gradually taking shape, with profound policy implications. User innovations  are often not based on technological improvement or R&D and remain largely under-estimated. Although there are  many case studies of user innovators at the industry level, the role of users is not captured by general statistics on innovation. Up to now the only exception is the empirical evidence based study of user innovation carried out in the UK in 2009. Recently it was complemented by empirical data from the USA and Japan. The present article aims to contribute to closing the gap of empirical data on user engagement into innovation activities at cross country level. The analysis is based on the results from a national survey carried out in Russia in 2011.The findings contribute to the better understanding of user innovators profile and of the factors which underpin user innovator activities in the context of emerging economies. The article is organized as follows. The first section reviews the relevant literature on the user innovation concept and the main features of user innovations as compared to producer generated innovations, as well as on the measurement of user innovators. The second section presents the research methodology and the main empirical results. Finally, the paper discusses some of main analytical and policy implications of the empirical findings.