Innovation and firm consumption: a new perspective?

Jeremy Howells*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


There continues to be an overwhelming supply-side focus in the study of innovation and the firm. There have been a number of exceptions, notably around the work of von Hippel and others, which emerged in the mid 1970s in relation to the role of the user on new product development and the innovation process (von Hippel, 1976, 1978, 1988; Parkinson, 1982; Foxall, 1987). However, even here the focus on use and its relationship with innovation was on the supplier rather than that on the consumer. The role of demand and consumption in the innovation process still remains largely neglected in the literature. This chapter seeks to redress some of this imbalance by exploring the role that consumption plays in the innovation process. More particularly, it seeks to explore the firm as a consumer and how this may shape the innovation process. Consumption and the way firms consume intermediate goods and services forms an important, but neglected, part of a firm’s capability set. The focus of the chapter is, therefore, primarily on the consumption of intermediate goods and services by firms, rather than on the role of final consumption by individuals and households.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Management of Innovation
Subtitle of host publicationAre We Asking the Right Questions?
EditorsJon Sundbo, Andrea Gallina, Göran Serin, Jerome Davis
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780230378841
ISBN (Print)9781403996725
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2005


  • innovation process
  • consumer research
  • intermediate good
  • consumption process
  • contemporary management


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