Reading list: Free Innovation by Eric von Hippel

E von Hippel, 2017. Free
. Cambridge MA: MIT Press
In this book I integrate new theory
and new research findings into the framework of a “free innovation paradigm.”
Free innovation involves innovations developed and given away by consumers as a
“free good,” with resulting improvements in social welfare. I explain that free
innovation is an inherently simple, transaction-free, grassroots innovation
process engaged in by tens of millions of people in the household sector of
national economies. Unlike producer innovation, free innovation does not
require intellectual property rights to function. Indeed, from the perspective
of participants, free innovation is fundamentally not about money – it is about
human flourishing.

I spell out the economics of free
innovation relative to producer innovation, and its major economic impacts.
These are currently not measured and so hidden from view. I also develop and
explore major implications of free innovation for innovation theory,
policymaking, and practice.

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