User Innovation as a Basis of Innovation Network Between Universities and Business

Zornitsa Yordanova


The paper aims at building a conceptual framework on how user innovation concept may be employed for the idea of creating innovation network between universities and business. Such innovation network would serve different purposes that are currently qualified as barriers for innovation management in business organizations as lack of easy access to lead-user innovators; difficulties in building minimal viable products; problems in validating innovation in its pre-market phase, etc. On the other hand, such innovation network would also satisfy some identified problems in innovation management education like reducing the gap between theory and business; teaching students through real live projects, etc. The approach for designing the conceptual framework steps on the user innovation theory. A literature analysis on user innovation identifies the utility of utilizing users in innovation development. Based on these, a focus group with 15 innovation managers qualitatively validates whether the identified 26 user activities in innovation development from prior researches would be beneficial if students take the role of user innovators (educated user innovators). The conceptual framework is built as a result from the respondents’ answers by designing where students may participate in innovation development as user innovators and how beneficial it is expected to be that cooperation. The assessment aims also at define the best place where the proposed activities may take place within the innovation development process. The finding of the study may play the role of a roadmap for user utilization in innovation development.


User innovation; Innovation Management; Innovation Development; Co-creation; Educated User Innovators

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