Last week, I had the opportunity to share some of my trials and tribulations as a worker in the user innovation economy at a seminar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. I was invited by Eric Von Hippel, an economist who has been at the forefront of studying "specializing in the nature and economics of distributed and open innovation." While we now take open source software for granted as a permanent feature of the Internet, let us remember it wasn't always thus, hampered by restrictive licenses, high cost, and general user unfriendliness. And, professor Von Hippel practices what he preaches, releasing his papers and books free online for unrestricted download.
My presentation concerned my experience in the user-driven economy, through the lens of four experiences: selling items on Etsy, posting projects on Instructables, writing Guerilla Furniture Design for Storey Publishing, and putting out designs on Open Desk. My basic thesis was that while online platforms have lowered the barriers to entry around design-based businesses, they haven't lowered the barriers to success at all.Read More