Annals of Business Administrative Science
Adverse User Innovation
The Case of a Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturer
Von Hippel (1988) coined the term “user innovation” by arguing that semiconductor device makers (equipment users) played a critical role as innovators in the development of semiconductor process equipments. However, in the same period of this study, the Japanese semiconductor process equipment manufacturer, ULVAC, autonomously conducted fundamental research on the material composition of cobalt–nickel–chrome (CoNiCr), a study that is generally conducted by device makers. Based on the material research outcome, ULVAC developed new manufacturing equipment for HDD and supplied it to users (device makers). Here we define this phenomenon as “adverse user innovation,” which works in an opposite manner to the “user innovation” of von Hippel (1988). In fact, there are likely to be numerous other examples similar to this case.