An important development in the past decade of innovation studies has been the recognition

of the role of communities outside of the boundaries of firms in creating, shaping and

disseminating technological and social innovations. While the dominant role of users in

creating functionally novel innovations was established 20 years ago by von Hippel (1988),

the advent of open source software communities has highlighted the important role of

communities in the innovation process. The relative success of the open source movement,

and its novel collaboration, problem solving and intellectual property practices, have also

focused the attention of innovation scholars on the ‘‘community’’ phenomenon and its

implications for innovation theory and practice.