Innovation Process Benefits: The Journey as Reward

Organizations can considerably amplify the resources available to their innovation projects — by helping volunteer innovators benefit from participating in the process.

BY CHRISTINA RAASCH AND ERIC VON HIPPEL

WHEN BUSINESS EXECUTIVES and economists think about whether developing an innovation will be worthwhile, they tend to focus on the economic value of the outcome of the innovation process. “Will we earn enough profit from using or selling X innovation to justify the money and time required to develop it?” is, in effect, the question they ask.

However, that standard cost-benefit assessment is seriously incomplete when applied to individual innovators. These individuals can gain significant ...

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