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Open AccessArticle

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

1
Faculty of Economics and Management, Technical University Berlin, 10587 Berlin, Germany
2
Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4836; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124836
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: user innovation; open innovation; smart energy; energy transition; Germany; survey user innovation; open innovation; smart energy; energy transition; Germany; survey
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Grosse, M. How User-Innovators Pave the Way for a Sustainable Energy Future: A Study among German Energy Enthusiasts. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4836.

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