Title: Learning to match: user-producer integration and blending in the probiotic Gefilus innovation process

Authors: Nina Janasik

Addresses: Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, PO Box 18 (Snellmaninkatu 10), 00014 Helsinki, Finland

Abstract: The notions of user involvement and user orientation have become popular catchphrases in innovation research and practice. Central in this research are the ideas that knowledge about users leads to better design, and that the interests of users and producers need to be aligned. In another field of research, scholars have long recognised the significance of metaphors for integrative pursuits. However, to date these two literatures have not been combined into an integrated framework. Producing such a framework for understanding the process of interest alignment is the main task of this paper. Illustrating the framework with a recent probiotic innovation process, this paper argues that learning to match type of boundary – syntactic, semantic and pragmatic – faced between users and producers with type of capability is crucial for bringing about successful user-producer integration. This paper also argues that learning to blend forms a central part of the semantic capability.

Keywords: user-producer integration; interest alignment; metaphor; blending; learning; probiotic innovation; user involvement; user orientation; users; producers; user interests; producer interests.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2011.041871

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2011 Vol.5 No.1, pp.51 - 67

Published online: 09 Aug 2011 *

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