15.356 | Spring 2004 | Graduate

How to Develop "Breakthrough" Products and Services


1 Who Develops Breakthrough New Products and Services - Users or Manufacturers? von Hippel, Eric. “Overview” and “Users as Innovators.” Chapters 1 and 2 in The Sources of Innovation. Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN: 0-19-504085-6.
2 Systematic Generation of Ideas for “Breakthrough” New Products and Services - the “Lead User Method” Brief videos on the lead user method in practice, available to students on the Sloan class server.

von Hippel, Eric, Stefan Thomke, and Mary Sonnack. “Creating Breakthroughs at 3M.” Harvard Business Review (Sept-Oct 1999): 3-9. Reprint No. 99510.

3 Finding out What Users Really Need: The “Sticky Information” and “Learning by Doing” Problems von Hippel, Eric. “Sticky Information and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation.” Management Science 40, no. 4 (Apr 1994): 429-439.

von Hippel, Eric, and Marcie Tyre. “How ‘Learning by Doing’ is Done: Problem Identification in Novel Process Equipment.” Research Policy (Jan 1995): 1-12.

4 Systematic Generation of Incremental Improvements to Existing Products and Services

Traditional Marketing Research Concept Generation Techniques

Dahan, Ely, and John Hauser. “Product Development - Managing a Dispersed Process.” MIT Sloan School of Management working paper, 2003: 9-25.
5 “Brainstorming” and Creativity Training Techniques Lecturer: Jeff Mauzy, Principal, Synectics, Inc. Cambridge, MA Gordon, William. “The Operational Mechanisms.” Chapter 2 in Synectics, the Development of Creative Capacity. Collier Books, 1961: 34-56. ISBN: 0060324309.
6 The MIT Media Lab Approach: “Build It and They Will Come.” Lecturer: Joe Paradiso, MIT Media Lab Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. “The Flow of Creativity.” Chapter 5 in Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. HarperCollins Publishers, 1996. ISBN: 0-06-017133-2.
7 Determining Average Users’ Needs Ethnographically and Then Developing Solutions Lecturer: Dr. Harry West, VP, Design Continuum Leonard, Dorothy, and Jeffrey F. Rayport. “Spark Innovation through Empathic Design.” Harvard Business Review (Nov-Dec 1997). Reprint No. 97606.
8 Why Users Share Innovations with Each Other and with Manufacturers: Informal Know-How Trading, Collective Invention and Voluntary Revealing Allen, Robert C. “Collective Invention.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 4, no. 1 (Mar 1983): 1-24.

Schrader, Stephan. “Informal Technology Transfer Between Firms: Cooperation Through Information Trading.” Research Policy 20 (1991): 153-170.

9 Toolkits for User Innovation Lecturer: John Wright, International Flavors and Fragrances Brand, Stewart. “‘Nobody Cares What You Do In There’: The Low Road.” Chapter 3 in How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built. Viking Penguin, 1994: 24-33. ISBN: 0-670-83515-3.

Thomke, Stefan, and Eric von Hippel. Customers as Innovators: A New Way to Create Value. _Harvard Business Review (_Apr 2002): 74-81. Reprint No. R0304F.

10 User Innovation Communities - No Manufacturer Required Franke, Nik, and Sonali Shah. “How Communities Support Innovative Activities: An Exploration of Assistance and Sharing Among End-Users.” Research Policy 32 (2003): 157-178.

von Hippel, Eric. “Innovation by User Communities: Learning from Open Source Software.” MIT Sloan Management Review 42, 4 (Summer 2001): 82-86. Reprint No. 4248.

11 Resistance to Adopting Radically New Innovations - Even in Firms that “Want To” Groopman, Jerome. “Annals of Medicine: The Reeve Effect.” The New Yorker, Nov 2003, 82-93.

Morrison, Elting E. “Gunfire at Sea.” Chapter 2 in Men, Machines and Modern Times. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1966. ISBN: 0-262-13025-4.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2004
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments