It is a difficult idea for research and development departments to accept, but one of his studies found that 82 percent of new capabilities for scientific instruments like electron microscopes were developed by users.
Citizen product design is still unsung, but it has already become a force in software, especially gaming software. “Counter-Strike,” a player-created “mod” (for modification to the original game) of “Half-Life,” became as popular as the original game. Apache, the popular open-source Web server software, or the Firefox Internet browser, with its thousands of add-ons and plug-ins, also depend on users to develop innovations. Large companies like I.B.M. are increasingly turning to open-source techniques in their own software development.