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How User-Innovators Pave the Way for a Sustainable Energy Future: A Study among German Energy Enthusiasts

Grosse, Matti

FG Innovationsökonomie

The existence of user-innovators in the household sector is undeniable. Prior research provided evidence on the vast scope of product developments by household sector users and documented a large set of individual user-innovator characteristics to explain their behavior. What has largely been neglected as a potential source of user innovation activities are product- and technology-specific factors. This study aims to fill this gap by identifying and analyzing user-innovators in Germany. On the basis of the results of a large-scale survey on German energy enthusiasts, we find dissatisfaction with existing products and time-consuming implementation as the main drivers of user innovation in our setting. The results show a negative correlation between data security concerns and the likelihood of becoming a user-innovator, pointing towards the maker culture among user-innovators. As an implication of our work, we provide a roadmap for all stakeholders aiming to harness the potential of user-innovators for future open innovation eco-systems.