User producer interaction in context: a classification

Roel Nahuis, Ellen Moors, Ruud Smits

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Science, Technology and Innovation Studies show that intensified user producer interaction (UPI) increases chances for successful innovations, especially in the case of emerging technology. It is not always clear, however, what type of interaction is necessary in a particular context. This paper proposes a conceptualization of contexts in terms of three dimensions – the phase of technology development, the flexibility of the technology, and the heterogeneity of user populations – resulting in a classification scheme with eight different contextual situations. The paper identifies and classifies types of interaction, like demand articulation, interactive learning, learning by using and domestication. It appears that each contextual situation demands a different set of UPI types. To illustrate the potential value of the classification scheme, four examples of innovations with varying technological and user characteristics are explored: the refrigerator, clinical anaesthesia, video cassette recording, and the bicycle. For each example the relevant UPI types are discussed and it is shown how these types highlight certain activities and interactions during key events of innovation processes. Finally, some directions for further research are suggested alongside a number of comments on the utility of the classification.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUtrecht, the Netherlands
PublisherUniversity of Utrecht, Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU)
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameISU Working Paper
PublisherUniversity of Utrecht, Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU)


  • Innovation
  • users
  • Interaction
  • typology of UPI
  • Learning
  • IR-80753


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