User innovation and the market

Fred Gault


This paper proposes a way of including in official statistics consumers as user innovators who modify or develop products for their own use. The issue addressed is the role of the market in the definition of innovation in the OECD/Eurostat Oslo Manual and the exclusion by the definition of consumers who modify or develop products and then freely reveal the knowledge gained to others. A modest proposal is made for a change to the definition which also has implications for the measurement of innovation in the public sector. The policy implications of user innovation by consumers and by firms are considered along with the importance of including consumer user innovation in official statistics. The paper ends with a programme for future work.

JEL Codes: H00, O33

Key words: User innovation, consumer innovation, public sector innovation, official statistics

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