Technological Forecasting and Social Change
School of Business and Law
Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme
DIY laboratories have the potential to advance new technologies, products and services through the leveraging of low-cost facilities by entrepreneurial individuals. We add to this emerging understanding of the DIY phenomenon by investigating the prevalence, operations and contextual factors that impact the use of DIY laboratories in the bicycle industry. We find two contexts in which DIY laboratories are utilised to develop component-level innovations: first, DIY laboratories are utilised as a low-cost way to enter an industry where the entrepreneur lacks the necessary financial resources and rely upon bootstrapping to build their enterprise. Second, and more frequently, DIY laboratories were used for the integration of diversified technical knowledge originating in other industries. Our study highlights the important role that DIY laboratories may play in leveraging inter-industry knowledge spillovers whereby DIY laboratories operate as incubators in the repurposing of diversified knowledge from high-technology sectors to lower-technology sectors to generate incremental innovation. Further, the modular product architecture of the bicycle helped facilitate the co-opting of technical knowledge prevalent in other industries by allowing entrepreneurs to focus their product development and subsequent commercialisation activities at the component level of the product artefact.
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