Title: Exploring the incorporation of users in an innovating business unit

Authors: Carl Wadell; Gunilla Ölundh Sandström; Jennie Björk; Mats Magnusson

Addresses: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management, Machine Design, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden ' KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management, Machine Design, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden ' KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management, Machine Design, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden ' KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management, Machine Design, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The importance of user involvement has long been stressed in the innovation management literature. However, we argue that this literature does not take sufficient account to the employment and incorporation of users in innovation. Hence, we explore the role of incorporated users in innovation activities. The research was conducted in a business unit in a large medical technology company with long experience of employing and incorporating physicians and nurses in its new product development activities. Data were collected through a questionnaire and interviews with key individuals. The study reveals that the incorporation of users has an overall positive effect on innovation activities, but that this way of working also raises several managerial issues. The results show that incorporated users play several different roles in the unit - as user representatives, networkers, idea promoters and change agents. Based on our findings we propose managerial implications related to the incorporation of users.

Keywords: user innovation; incorporated users; innovation roles; medical technology; social network analysis; SNA; innovate business units; innovation management; healthcare technology; new product development; NPD; user involvement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2013.052672

International Journal of Technology Management, 2013 Vol.61 No.3/4, pp.293 - 308

Published online: 17 Mar 2013 *

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