How and Why Smart Companies are Harnessing the Creativity of Their Customers

Unattributed, The Economist, Mar 11, 2005
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting article about the way companies solicit and use ideas generated by their customers. Take note of the last paragraph: "One really exciting thing about user-led innovation is that customers seem willing to donate their creativity freely, says Mr Von Hippel. This may be because it is their only practical option: patents are costly to get and often provide only weak protection." On the other hand, protection for the same companies is very easy to get and those same consumers are easy targets for lawsuits. The law is supposed to provide balance. It is not doing that.
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