From Innovation Community to Community Innovation User-initiated Innovation in Wireless Leiden

Elizabeth C.J. van Oost, Stefan Verhaegh, Nelly E.J. Oudshoorn

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The role of users in innovation processes has gained increasing attention in innovation studies, technology studies, and media studies. Scholars have identified users and use practices as a source of innovation. So far, however, little insight has been generated in innovation processes in which communities of users are the driving force in all phases of the innovation process. This article explores the conceptual vocabularies of innovation studies and actor— network theory and discusses their adequacy for describing and understanding the dynamics of user-initiated innovation processes in which community and innovation are closely intertwined. The authors introduce the concept of community innovation and argue for its relevance for understanding the full dynamics of innovations initiated and shaped by user collectives. The article elaborates a qualitative case study of Wireless Leiden, a local wireless network infrastructure in the Dutch town of Leiden initiated, designed, and maintained by a local community of users.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)182-205
Number of pages24
JournalScience, technology & human values
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Wi-Fi community
  • innovation community
  • innovation studies
  • Actor-Network Theory
  • METIS-256389
  • IR-61652
  • user innovation

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