The Role of User Firms in Capital Goods Innovation: The Case of Machine Tools
A group of innovation studies takes the view that the user plays an important role in the innovation process. They perceive that the user generates the idea for a new product and initiates various stages of the development of the product. In general, the user has been regarded as a primary actor at the initial stages of the innovation process, while at the later stages, the role of the user has often been limited to that of an assistant to the supplier. Many crucial roles which the user plays in the innovation process still remain unexplored or have been neglected. Particularly, little contribution has been made to the understanding of the role of the user’s investment and his entrepreneurial activity in the exploitation of the economic benefits from the production and marketing of their innovations. In this chapter, we attempt to explore over a wider range of the user’s role in the innovation process. The exploration is focused on the particular case of machine tools and the unit of the discussion is extended to aggregate level.