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Eric von Hippel is the T. Wilson (1953) Professor in Management and a Professor of Management of Innovation and Engineering Systems at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
His research discovers and explores patterns in the sources of innovation and develops new processes to improve the “fuzzy front end” of the innovation process—the end where ideas for breakthrough new products and services are developed. In his most recent book, Democratizing Innovation (MIT Press, April 2005), von Hippel shows how communities of users are actually becoming such powerful innovation engines that they are increasingly driving manufacturers out of product development altogether—a pattern he documents in fields ranging from open source software to sporting equipment. This discovery has been used for a better understanding of the innovation process and for the development of new innovation processes for industry. He is currently leading a major research project to discover how these user innovation communities work, and how and whether the same principles might extend to many areas of product and service development. In addition, von Hippel is working with governmental and academic colleagues in the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom to develop new and modified governmental policies appropriate to the newly emerging innovation paradigm of user-centered innovation.
He holds a BA in economics from Harvard College, an SM in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in business and engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University.
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