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Involving Consumers: The Role of Digital Technologies in Promoting 'Prosumption' and User Innovation

Rayna, T; Striukova, L; (2016) Involving Consumers: The Role of Digital Technologies in Promoting 'Prosumption' and User Innovation. Journal of the Knowledge Economy 10.1007/s13132-016-0390-8. Green open access

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Since the First Industrial Revolution, consumers have been mainly considered as playing a passive role with regard to production. However, the recent decades have seen a progressive growth in consumer involvement in production processes, for instance, in the form of user innovation, DIY and mass customisation. Yet, it was not until the advent of digital technologies that consumers’ input in production processes could become really significant in all dimensions of production (design, manufacturing and distribution). This increased (sometimes leading) role of consumers in production has been referred to as ‘prosumption’. While prosumption has so far been mainly significant online (where consumers have arguably taken over the creation and distribution of content), recent advances in digital technologies (mobile networks, 3D printing) have enabled prosumption to reach to world of physical objects, as illustrated by the increased importance of consumer-made goods (‘makers’ movement) and of the ‘sharing economy’. Although prosumption can be highly disruptive to markets, there has not been so far a thorough investigation of the nature of this phenomenon. Yet, understanding this nature is critical to apprehend disruptions. Furthermore, while digital technologies have been acknowledged as a key factor in the rise of prosumption, the exact role of each set of technologies has not yet been studied, which is a problem, as different technologies enable different types of prosumption. The aim of this article is to fill these two gaps. To do so, a framework of prosumption, which encompasses both inputs and outputs of consumer contribution, is introduced. This framework is then applied to multiple case studies, which enables to show how prosumption has evolved and what changes lie ahead.

Type: Article
Title: Involving Consumers: The Role of Digital Technologies in Promoting 'Prosumption' and User Innovation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s13132-016-0390-8
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13132-016-0390-8
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Prosumption; User innovation; Digital technologies; Sharing economy; 3D printing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503356
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