Christina Raasch is Associate Professor of Digital Economy at Kühne Logistics University. She holds a joint appointment with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), where she is part of the Research Area focusing on Knowledge Creation and Growth.
She studied economics at the universities of St. Gallen and Oxford and holds a doctorate in management from Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg. During her habilitation studies, which she completed at TU Hamburg-Harburg, she spent 1.5 years as a visiting researcher at MIT Sloan School of Management. Before joining the KLU faculty in March 2017, she was Assistant Professor of Technology Management at Technische Universität München. She gained industry experience working as a consultant for ZS Associates as well as during various research projects conducted with companies in high tech and the digital economy.
In her research, Raasch focuses on open and user innovation as well as ways of enhancing innovativeness in entrepreneurial and established firms. She investigates user-contested and user-complemented markets, that is, markets in which individual user innovators, online communities, and crowdsourcing are important sources of innovation that can either benefit or threaten firms.
Boosted by advances in information and communication technology, networked collaboration, and, increasingly, 3D printing, individual users and communities have become important sources of innovation across a wide range of industries. Many established firms find themselves under increasing pressure from user-generated innovation and content, and peer-to-peer sharing. Strategizing for complementarities with demand-side value creation is very much at the heart of the digital economy. Leveraging these new sources of value usually involves smart technologies for digital collaboration, customization, and production.
In the last five years, Raasch published her research in Management Science, Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, and Sloan Management Review. She is a Fellow of the Open and User Innovation (OUI) Society and serves as reviewer for, e.g., Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Scientometrics, and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.
de Jong, Jeroen P.J., Eric Hippel, Fred Gault, Jari Kuusisto and Christina Raasch (2015): Market failure in the diffusion of consumer-developed innovations: Patterns in Finland, Research Policy, 44 (10): 1856-1865.
Abstract: Abstract Empirical studies have shown that millions of individual users develop new products and services to serve their own needs. The economic impact of this phenomenon increases if and as adopters in addition to the initial innovators also gain benefits from those user-developed innovations. It has been argued that the diffusion of user-developed innovations is negatively affected by a new type of market failure: value that others may gain from a user-developed product can often be an externality to consumer-developers. As a result, consumer innovators may not invest in supporting diffusion to the extent that would be socially optimal. In this paper, we utilize a broad sample of consumers in Finland to explore the extent to which innovations developed by individual users are deemed of potential value to others, and the extent to which they diffuse as a function of perceived general value. Our empirical analysis supports the hypothesis that a market failure is affecting the diffusion of user innovations developed by consumers for their own use. Implications and possible remedies are discussed.
Schweisfurth, Tim G. and Christina Raasch (2015): Embedded lead users - The benefits of employing users for corporate innovation, Research Policy, 44 (1): 168-180.
Abstract: Abstract While most of the literature views users and producers as organizationally distinct, this paper studies users within producer firms. We define “embedded lead users” (ELUs) as employees who are lead users of their employing firm’s products or services. We argue that 5ELUs6 benefit from dual embeddedness in the user and producer domains; it shapes their cognitive structure and enables them to better absorb sticky need knowledge from the user domain. We hypothesize that 5ELUs6 are more active than regular employees in acquiring, disseminating, and utilizing market need information for corporate innovation. Using survey data from the mountaineering equipment industry (n = 149), we test and support our hypotheses. Additional robustness checks reveal that the observed effects are indeed due to lead userness rather than to affective product involvement or job satisfaction. We discuss theoretical and managerial implications, as well as directions for future research on this empirically important but hitherto under-researched phenomenon.
Balka, Kerstin, Christina Raasch and Cornelius Herstatt (2014): The Effect of Selective Openness on Value Creation in User Innovation Communities, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31 (2): 392-407.
Abstract: Open innovation research and practice recognize the important role of external complementors in value creation. At the same time, firms need to retain exclusive control over some essential components to capture value from their product and/or service system. This paper contributes to the literature by analyzing some of the trade-offs between openness to external value creation and closedness for internal value capture. It focuses on selective openness as a key variable and investigates how it affects value creation by external complementors, specifically the members of user innovation communities. Openness, it is hypothesized, matters to community members: The more open a product design is, the higher their sense of involvement in the innovation project, and the larger the effort they devote to it. Unlike prior literature, different forms and loci of openness are distinguished, specifically the transparency, accessibility, and replicability of different components of the product being developed.Hypotheses are tested based on survey data (n = 309) from 20 online communities in the consumer electronics and information technology hardware industries. Multilevel regression analysis is used to account for clustering, and thus nonindependent data, at the community level. We find that openness indeed increases community members’ involvement in the innovation project and their contributions to it. Interestingly, however, some forms and loci of openness strongly affect community perceptions and behavior, while others have limited or no impact. This finding suggests that, at least in relation to user communities, the trade-off that firms face between external value creation and internal value capture is softer than hitherto understood. Contingency factors that may be able to explain these patterns are advanced. For example, users are expected to value the form of openness that they have the capabilities and incentives to exploit.The findings in this paper extend the literature on selective openness in innovation. They emphasize the need to study the demand for different forms of openness at the subsystem level and align supply-side strategies to it. In managerial practice, a careful assessment of the demand for openness enables firms to successfully use selective openness and to effectively appropriate value from selectively open systems.
Gambardella, Alfonso, Christina Raasch and Eric Hippel (In press): The User Innovation Paradigm: Impacts on Markets and Welfare, Management Science.
Abstract: Innovation has traditionally been seen as the province of producers. However, theoretical and empirical research now shows that individual users—consumers—are also a major and increasingly important source of new product and service designs. In this paper, we build a microeconomic model of a market that incorporates demand-side innovation and competition. We explain the conditions under which firms find it beneficial to invest in supporting and harvesting users’ innovations, and we show that social welfare rises when firms utilize this source of innovation. Our modeling also indicates reasons for policy interventions with respect to a mixed user and producer innovation economy. From the social welfare perspective, as the share of innovating users in a market increases, profit-maximizing firms tend to switch “too late” from a focus on internal research and development to a strategy of also supporting and harvesting user innovations. Underlying this inefficiency are externalities that the producer cannot capture. Overall, our results explain when and how the proliferation of innovating users leads to a superior division of innovative labor involving complementary investments by users and producers, both benefitting producers and increasing social welfare. This paper was accepted by Lee Fleming, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Raasch, Christina and Eric Hippel (2013): Innovation process benefits: The journey as reward, Sloan Management Review, 55 (1): 33-39.
Abstract: When business executives and economists think about whether developing an innovation will be worthwhile, they tend to focus on the economic value of the outcome of the innovation process. However, the authors argue, that standard cost-benefit assessment is seriously incomplete when applied to individual innovators. These individuals can gain significant benefits from participation in a development process as well as or even instead of benefits from using or selling the innovation created. When innovation project sponsors can offer volunteer innovators such benefits, the net cost of those innovation projects can be much lower. The authors define innovation process benefits as all those benefits that innovators will get if they directly participate in the innovation development process and will not get if somebody just hands them the solution to an innovation challenge. Important examples of innovation process benefits include enjoyment and learning obtained from participation in the project, as well as reputational gains obtained from being known as having made high-quality contributions. Innovation process benefits are distinct from benefits associated with using or selling the innovation created. They are only available to participants in the development process. Together with other researchers, one of the authors studied the range of motivations experienced by consumer- innovators individuals creating or modifying consumer products to better fit their personal needs. Both a study of Finnish consumer-innovators and a study of consumer-innovators in whitewater kayaking found that motivations for these innovators included not only a desire to use or sell their innovations but also enjoyment and learning gained from the innovation process, as well as a desire to help others. The authors note that designing innovation projects with individual volunteers innovation process benefits in mind can amplify total investment in R&D and innovation in societies by making it attractive for some consumers to devote some fraction of their leisure time to that purpose. The net effect is to make innovation cheaper from the societal perspective and also from the perspective of an innovation project sponsor.