User Innovation and Firm Innovation Performance: Towards a New Agenda

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Type and Duration

FFF-Förderprojekt, January 2008 until January 2012 (finished)


Van Riemsdijk Chair in Entrepreneurship

Main Research

Growth and Complexity

Field of Research

Macro Economics


Empirical studies since the 1980ies have shown that users are a very important external source of innovation. However, most of the research on user innovation has been conducted on the basis of case and small-sample studies exploring specific product and process innovations as the main unit of analysis. The purpose of this research project is thus to provide broader empirical evidence on the relationship between interacting with users during the innovation process and firm innovation performance.

Findings from this research project should shed further light on how pervasive and economically important external end users' knowledge is as an input to firm innovation. Reported results should also help managers and policy makers to better assess and manage the innovative input of external end users.

Specific questions that drive the research project are:
What are plausible explanations for a positive relationship between cooperating with external end users and firm innovation performance?
How can we capture and model the impact of end users knowledge on the innovative capacity of firms?
What are the relationships between cooperating with end users in the process of innovation and innovative output?
How can managers and policy makers adapt their actions to benefit from end users' knowledge for the purpose of innovation?

Intended results of the project are (1) to gain a better understanding of how pervasive end user innovation is with respect to innovative output of firms, (2) to provide managers and policymakers with appropriate tools to analyse the efficiency and efficacy of interventions and (3) to assess modes of systematic interaction with end users to benefit from their innovative capacity.


Knowledge Management, Innovation research, Sustainable development, sustainable economics, Political economics, Innovation management and -controlling

Project Manager



  • Fuchs, B. (2011). Transforming lead user innovations into new corporate ventures: a matter of information asymmetry? International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, Vol. 14(1), pp. 80-95. (ABDC_2016: C; ABS_2018: 1; VHB_3: C)

  • Fuchs, B. (2011). Theoretische Begründungen und praktische Ansätze zur Ausschöpfung des Gründungspotenzials von Frauen. In N. Irsch & P. Witt (Eds.), Gründungsförderung in Theorie und Praxis. Reihe KfW-Research (pp. 165-184). Frankfurt am Main: Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Eigenverlag).

  • Fuchs, B. (2010). Die Konvertierung von Lead User-Ideen in kommerzielle Produkte: Ein wissensbasiertes Prozessmodell für etablierte Unternehmen. In C. Marxt, S. Kraus & D. & Müller (Eds.), Entrepreneurial Management - Festschrift zum 60. Geb. von Urs Baldegger (pp. 99-118). Stuttgart: Ibidem.

  • Arvanitis, S., Fuchs, B., & Woerter, M. (2011). User Innovation and Firm Innovation Performance. Paper presented at the DRUID Society Conference 2011, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

  • Fuchs, B. (2009). Capturing user (driven) innovation in standard innovation surveys: Insights from pretests in Liechtenstein. Paper presented at the European Commission (DG ENTR)/Eurostat Task Force Meeting on Community Innovation Survey (CIS) 2010, Luxembourg.

  • Fuchs, B. (2009). Venturing lead user generated ideas within a large corporation: knowledge conversion and entrepreneurial behaviour at the fuzzy front end. Paper presented at the 25th EGOS Colloquium, Barcelona, Spain.

  • Fuchs, B. (2009). Corporate venturing of lead user generated ideas. Paper presented at the International Open and User Innovation Workshop 2009, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH).

  • Arvanitis, S., Fuchs, B., & Woerter, M. (2011). User Innovation and Firm Performance (KOF Working Paper Serie, WP Nr. 276). Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETHZ).