Episode 5: Democratization of Innovation

MOOC Summaries - User Innovation - Path to Entrepreneurship - Democratization of Innovation

Episode 5: Democratization of Innovation

“Democratization of Innovation… League of Legends.. Game Mod… Defender Bike Light… Innovation and Diffusion…”


  • Democratization of Innovation > Democratization of Innovation (Episode 5) > Episode 5

Democratization of Innovation > Democratization of Innovation (Episode 5) > Episode 5

  • Innovation often starts with real people solving their own problems, innovating for their own use.
  • Example – League of Legends
    • League of Legends is a user innovation known as a mod.
    • Mod, short for modification, is a programming and customization of video game content by a user.
    • Video game mods were first made possible by another major innovation, the personal computer.
    • As personal computers became widely available, users were able to learn programing anytime they wanted, which meant they could learn how to modify existing computer programs like video games.
    • The first mods were created in the early ’80s by two high school students who modified the games Dino Eggs and Castle Wolfenstein by replacing the villains with Smurfs.
    • As the prices of computers continued to drop and computing speed increased, even more people gained the access and ability to mod.
    • In the early ’90s, several popular mods were developed by users, like the game Wolfenstein 3-D. The user created content and tools actually extended the life of the game.
    • So the game’s developers, its software made their next games, Doom and Quake easily modifiable.
    • The increasing availability of the internet further expanded the popularity of mod, because modders were able to share content and form communities.
    • Over the next few years the modding community continued to grow exponentially as internet and computing speeds increased even more.
    • Software companies such as Valve began hiring programmers from the Quake modding community to create game content.
    • Modding became a legitimate career path to becoming a game developer.
    • Valve continued to make modding their games even easier by giving users access to game engine, Source.
    • Creating a platform, Steam, for the distribution of games, mods, and modding tools.
    • Today, mods have become so easy to create that nearly anyone can go on the internet and begin learning how to mod, and those who are still programmers have even more opportunities.
    • Because of this, Warcraft III modder, Steve Feak, was able to take his mod and partner with Riot Games to develop one of the most popular, commercially successful games in the world, League of Legends.
  • Discussion with Slava Menn on his Defender Bike Light and the forces driving the democratization of innovation.
  • Innovation and diffusion are becoming more accessible for everyone.
  • If established companies, producing and diffusing, and users, developing new products, collaborate, the relationship will be beneficial for both sides.

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 photo: depositphotos/venimo