As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

It’s not just for man caves. Your neighbor’s garage might be an R & D powerhouse.

Photo by Rob Carlson, for his Synthesis blog, which covers Garage Innovation

I’ve been struggling to get a simple stat that adequately captures the explosion of “garage-works” R & D we at Daily Grommet see originating from regular people, not just large companies. This grassroots investment in innovation is an essential cornerstone of Citizen Commerce.

Stats are thin on the ground.  No one has studied Daily Grommet, or Quirky, Big Idea Lab, or Edison Nation, or KickStarter or all the entities and individuals participating in this area.  Or at least I thought so.

But HAPPY DAY, my neighbor Marcia sent me an MIT Sloan Management Review article “The Age of the Consumer Innovator” that delivers just what I need.

An American MIT professor, a Japanese Kobe professor and a Dutch Erasmus professor studied the “consumer innovator” R & D investments in the US, Japan, and the UK.  The findings are impressive for the US and the UK:

  • US consumer innovators are matching 33% of the R & D investments made by commercial enterprises.  That is enormous, given our R & D intensive economy.
  • UK consumer innovators actually spend more!  They log in with 144% of what all commercial enterprises spend as a group.
  • Japan is a little wimpy, at 13% but even that is not bad for an R & D intense nation.

We see 100 ideas a week submitted at Daily Grommet.  That doesn’t happen for free.  People are investing in R & D from their paychecks, and from friends and family, and investing proceeds from other ventures.  These are the people creating the future of business.  I am glad to put some numbers on it.  It’s big and it is going to rock our world.  In a good way.

2 Responses to “It’s not just for man caves. Your neighbor’s garage might be an R & D powerhouse.”

  1. A huge sea change in consumer products: six points of evidence « Jules Pieri

    […] I would stretch the Nussbaum/Open Source Hardware thesis beyond the “local/maker” communities of production to emerging enterprises that are making scalable products originating from very humble beginnings.  A recent MIT study supports this reality in finding that a full 25% of the R and D budget in the US is flowing through “consumer innovators.”  Here is my post on that topic. […]

    Reply
  2. A huge sea change in consumer products: six points of evidence | Jules Pieri

    […] I would stretch the Nussbaum/Open Source Hardware thesis beyond the “local/maker” communities of production to emerging enterprises that are making scalable products originating from very humble beginnings.  A recent MIT study supports this reality in finding that a full 25% of the R and D budget in the US is flowing through “consumer innovators.”  Here is my post on that topic. […]

    Reply

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