Open innovation has become one of the hottest topics in innovation management. This article intends to explore the limits in our understanding of the open innovation concept. In doing so, I address the questions of what (the content of open innovation), when (the context dependency) and how (the process). Open innovation is a rich concept, that can be implemented in many different ways. The context dependency of open innovation is one of the least understood topics; more research is needed on the internal and external environment characteristics affecting performance. The open innovation process relates to both the transition towards open innovation, and the various open innovation practices. As with any new concept, initial studies focus on successful and early adopters, are based on case studies, and descriptive. However, not all lessons learned from the early adopters may be applicable to following firms. Case study research increases our understanding of how things work and enables us to identify important phenomena. They should be followed by quantitative studies involving large samples to determine the relative importance of factors, to build path models to understand chains of effects, and to formally test for context dependencies. However, the evidence shows that open innovation has been a valuable concept for so many firms and in so many contexts, that it is on its way to find its final place in innovation management.
This work investigates public–private research collaboration between Italian universities and domestic industry, applying a bibliometric type of approach. The study is based on an exhaustive listing of all co-authored publications in international journals that are jointly realized by Italian university scientists and researchers in the private sector; this listing permits the development of a national mapping system for public–private collaboration that is unique for its extensive and representative character. It is shown that, in absolute terms, most collaborations occur in medicine and chemistry, while it is industrial and information engineering that shows the highest percentage of co-authored articles out of all articles in the field. In addition, the investigation empirically examines and tests several hypotheses concerning the qualitative–quantitative impact of collaboration on the scientific production of individual university researchers. The analyses demonstrate that university researchers who collaborate with those in the private sector show research performance that is superior to that of colleagues who are not involved in such collaboration. But the impact factor of journals publishing academic articles co-authored by industry is generally lower than that concerning co-authorships with other entities. Finally, a further specific elaboration also reveals that publications with public–private co-authorship do not show a level of multidisciplinarity that is significantly different from that of other publications.
Open innovation has so far been studied mainly in high-tech, multinational enterprises. This exploratory paper investigates if open innovation practices are also applied by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Drawing on a database collected from 605 innovative SMEs in the Netherlands, we explore the incidence of and apparent trend towards open innovation. The survey furthermore focuses on the motives and perceived challenges when SMEs adopt open innovation practices. Within the survey, open innovation is measured with eight innovation practices reflecting technology exploration and exploitation in SMEs. We find that the responding SMEs engage in many open innovation practices and have increasingly adopted such practices during the past 7 years. In addition, we find no major differences between manufacturing and services industries, but medium-sized firms are on average more heavily involved in open innovation than their smaller counterparts. We furthermore find that SMEs pursue open innovation primarily for market-related motives such as meeting customer demands, or keeping up with competitors. Their most important challenges relate to organizational and cultural issues as a consequence of dealing with increased external contacts.
External knowledge sharing and knowledge leakage often pose a strategic dilemma when firms conduct innovation activities. In this study, we focus on the positive and negative effects of this phenomenon. In particular, we empirically examine the effects of a firm׳s external knowledge sharing on its relative innovation performance under the contingencies of accidental and intentional leakage of business-critical knowledge. Results based on a survey of 150 Finnish technology-intensive firms show that external knowledge sharing has a positive effect on innovation performance, but high levels of accidental and intentional knowledge leakage by a firm׳s employees negatively moderate this relationship. These results contribute to the understanding of the potentially positive and negative issues related to external knowledge sharing and knowledge leakage, which have thus far remained empirically under-researched.
Prior research hints at the accelerator as a new generation incubation model. Accelerators have become an umbrella term for any program providing a service structure of mentorship, networking opportunities and access to funding. The challenge, however, is to understand their distinctive characteristics and profiles geared towards reinforcing business start-ups. How do accelerators operate as a new generation incubation model and how do they differ from existing incubation mechanisms? This inductive study investigates 13 accelerators across Europe and adopts a design lens to identify the accelerator model’s key design parameters. We identify five key building blocks and distinguish between three different types of accelerators, taking the primary design theme of the accelerator into account. We contribute to the incubation literature by extending recognition of the heterogeneity of incubation models, by delineating the accelerator as a distinctive incubation model and by introducing the design lens as a useful theoretical framework to investigate incubation models and their evolution.
The complexity of innovation processes led to a tremendous growth in the use of external networks by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Based on a survey to 137 Chinese manufacturing SMEs, this paper empirically explores the relationships between different cooperation networks and innovation performance of SME using the technique of structural equation modeling (SEM). The study finds that there are significant positive relationships between inter-firm cooperation, cooperation with intermediary institutions, cooperation with research organizations and innovation performance of SMEs, of which inter-firm cooperation has the most significant positive impact on the innovation performance of SMEs. Surprisingly, the result reveals that the linkage and cooperation with government agencies do not demonstrate any significant impact on the innovation performance of SMEs. In addition, these findings confirm that the vertical and horizontal cooperation with customers, suppliers and other firms plays a more distinct role in the innovation process of SMEs than horizontal cooperation with research institutions, universities or colleges, and government agencies.
Publications pushing the “innovation ecosystem” meme have added valuable dimensions to the economic development discussion. The phrase has captured the imagination of policy makers and has motivated public initiatives of substantial magnitude. This paper reviews the concept of innovation ecosystems as it is set forth in the academic and trade literature, and asks, “What is gained from adding ‘eco-’ to our treatment of national and regional innovation systems?” The answer is, “Very little, and the risks outweigh the benefits.” Innovation ecosystem is not yet a clearly defined concept, much less a theory. Moreover, the idea carries pitfalls, notably its over-emphasis on market forces, and its flawed analogy to natural ecosystems. The prospect that the phrase “innovation ecosystem” is here to stay, in investment and economic development circles, implies a research gap, and indicates caution in using the phrase in rigorous research. The paper describes the gap, indicates directions for bridging it, and offers recommendations for prudent use of “ecosystem” terminology.
This study assesses the synergy effects of governance in mobile phone penetration for inclusive human development in Sub-Saharan Africa with data for the period 2000–2012. It employs a battery of interactive estimation techniques, namely: Fixed effects, Generalised Method of Moments and Tobit regressions. Concepts of political (voice and accountability and political stability/no violence), economic (government effectiveness and regulation quality) and institutional (corruption-control and rule of law) governance are employed. The following findings are established. The previously apparent positive correlation between mobile phones and inclusive development can be extended to a positive effect. Although political governance is overwhelmingly not significant across estimated models, the average effects from economic governance are higher relative to institutional governance. On the interactions between mobile phones and governance variables, while none are apparent in Fixed effects regressions, there are significant synergy effects in Generalised Method of Moments and Tobit estimations, notably, from: regulation quality in the former and political stability, voice and accountability and rule of law in the latter. There is consistent evidence of convergence in inclusive human development. Policy implications are discussed.
This paper introduces Technology Business Incubation (TBI) as a field of study and practice, exploring the concept, its evolution, and scholarship. Science parks, incubators and accelerators are TBI mechanisms considered to be important policy tools for supporting innovation and technology-oriented entrepreneurial growth. Their popularity is premised on the belief that these mechanisms provide critical value-added inputs essential for the creation and development of innovative Technology-Based Firms (TBFs). However, determining what type of TBI mechanisms and policies are most conducive to achieving the desired results is very much mission-driven and context-specific. A review of the past three decades of incubation literature, emerging practice, and future trends reveals that despite ongoing debate about their contribution and challenges, the future of TBIs is promising, and there are rich opportunities for research.
Open Innovation is currently one of the most debated topics in management literature. Nevertheless, there are still many unanswered questions in Open Innovation research. Especially two issues require further investigation: (i) understanding the relevance of Open Innovation beyond high-tech industries and (ii) studying how firms implement Open Innovation in practice. The paper addresses these topics by studying, through an in-depth case study, the journey that the Italian leading cement manufacturer, has undergone to move from a Closed to an Open Innovation paradigm. The paper shows that the Open Innovation paradigm is implemented along a three-phase process that comprises the stages of unfreezing, moving and institutionalising. Moreover, it emerges that the changes through which Open Innovation has been implemented involve four major dimensions, i.e. networks, organisational structures, evaluation processes and knowledge management systems. They should be therefore conceived as the managerial and organisational levers an innovating firm can act upon to streamline its journey toward Open Innovation. Theoretical and managerial implications of using these levers for implementing Open Innovation are discussed at length.
Competition today is driving firms to introduce products with a higher degree of novelty. Consequently, there is a growing need to understand the critical success factors behind more novel product innovations. This paper theoretically and empirically analyzes the role of different types of collaborative networks in achieving product innovations and their degree of novelty. Using data from a longitudinal sample of Spanish manufacturing firms, our results show that technological collaborative networks are of crucial importance in achieving a higher degree of novelty in product innovation. Continuity of collaboration and the composition of the collaborative network are highly significant dimensions. Collaboration with suppliers, clients and research organizations—in this order—have a positive impact on the novelty of innovation, while collaboration with competitors has a negative impact. The greatest positive impact on the degree of innovation novelty comes from collaborative networks comprising different types of partners.
This paper investigates the adoption of Open Innovation in the bio-pharmaceutical industry, studying through which organisational modes it is put into practice and how these modes are interwoven with the different phases of drug discovery and development process. Two rounds of interviews with industry experts were carried out to develop a model describing the adoption of Open Innovation by bio-pharmaceutical companies. This framework was then applied to an extensive and longitudinal empirical basis, which includes data about the adoption of Open Innovation by the top 20 worldwide industry players, in the time period 2000–2007. The paper provides a thorough discussion of how bio-pharmaceutical firms have used different organisational modes (i.e. licensing agreements, non-equity alliance, purchase and supply of technical and scientific services) to enter into relationship with different types of partners (i.e. large pharmaceutical companies, product biotech firms, platform biotech firms and universities) with the aim to acquire (Inbound Open Innovation) or commercially exploit (Outbound Open Innovation) technologies and knowledge. The implications of the study for Open Innovation research and possible avenues for future investigation are discussed at length in the paper.
TRIZ (the theory of inventive problem solving) has been promoted by several enthusiasts as a systematic methodology or toolkit that provides a logical approach to developing creativity for innovation and inventive problem solving. The methodology, which emerged from Russia in the 1960s, has spread to over 35 countries across the world. It is now being taught in several universities and it has been applied by a number of global organisations who have found it particularly useful for spurring new product development. However, while its popularity and attractiveness appear to be on a steady increase, there are practical issues which make the use of TRIZ in practice particularly challenging. These practical difficulties have largely been neglected by TRIZ literature. This paper takes a step away from conventional TRIZ literature, by exploring not just the benefits associated with TRIZ knowledge, but the challenges associated with its acquisition and application based on practical experience. Through a survey, first-hand information is collected from people who have tried (successfully and unsuccessfully) to understand and apply the methodology. The challenges recorded cut across a number of issues, ranging from the complex nature of the methodology to underlying organisational and cultural issues which hinder its understanding and application. Another contribution of this paper, potentially useful for TRIZ beginners, is the indication of what tools among the several contained in the TRIZ toolkit would be most useful to learn first, based on their observed degree of usage by the survey respondents.
This study aims to investigate the relationships between drivers of innovativeness and the mediation effects of learning orientation. A conceptual model is designed and hypotheses are constructed. In order to test the hypotheses, structural equation modeling is performed for the data collected from 333 technology-innovative small firms in South Korea. The results reveal that market orientation and entrepreneurial orientation significantly influences learning orientation, respectively. Additionally, learning orientation significantly affects innovativeness, and sequentially innovativeness has a significant effect on performance. The most notable of these is that learning orientation performs a mediating function in the relationships between market orientation and entrepreneurial orientation and innovativeness. The findings imply that managers with entrepreneurial orientation and market orientation should place much emphasis on learning orientation in order to boost innovativeness and ultimately achieve performance. Limitations include a limited number of predictors and possibility of generalizability of the results.
Business incubators (BIs) have been established around the world to stimulate new business creation. Whilst it is accepted that incubation models have evolved, little is known about whether existing incubators have adjusted their value proposition to incorporate recent incubation paradigms or have simply remained operating as originally founded. We present data collected within seven BIs and their tenants regarding service provision and selection criteria. Our findings show that whilst BIs of all generations offer similar support services, tenants in older generation BIs make less use of the BI's service portfolio. We suggest this is a consequence of slack selection criteria and the absence of clearly defined exit policies. These results imply that older generation BIs should update their service portfolio while simultaneously imposing stricter selection criteria and introducing exit policies. Finally, we discuss the wider implications this raises for BIs' managers, prospective tenants and policy makers. ► We follow the evolution of business incubation models. ► We analyze both supply and demand of business incubation services. ► More recent generation of business incubators provide more tenants with services. ► Slack selection criteria and unclear exit policies create a mismatch between the service portfolio and tenant companies' needs. ► Implications for business incubators managers, prospective tenants and policy makers are discussed.
The discussion on open innovation suggests that the ability to absorb external knowledge has become a major driver for competition. For R&D intensive large firms, the concept of open innovation in relation to absorptive capacity is relatively well understood. Little attention has; however, been paid to how both small firms and firms, which operate in traditional sectors, engage in open innovation activities. The latter two categories of firms often dispose of no, or at most a relatively low level of, absorptive capacity. Open innovation has two faces. In the case of inbound open innovation, companies screen their environment to search for technology and knowledge and do not exclusively rely on in-house R&D. A key pre-condition is that firms dispose of “absorptive capacity” to internalise external knowledge. SMEs and firms in traditional industries might need assistance in building absorptive capacity. This paper focuses on the role of collective research centres in building absorptive capacity at the inter-organisational level. In order to do so, primary data was collected through interviews with CEOs of these technology intermediaries and their member firms and analysed in combination with secondary data. The technology intermediaries discussed are created to help firms to take advantage of technological developments. The paper demonstrates that the openness of the innovation process forces firms lacking absorptive capacity to search for alternative ways to engage in inbound open innovation. The paper highlights the multiple activities of which absorptive capacity in intermediaries is made up; defines the concept of absorptive capacity as a pre-condition to open innovation; and demonstrates how firms lacking absorptive capacity collectively cope with distributed knowledge and innovation.
It is commonly accepted nowadays that external knowledge sources are important for firms' innovative performance. However, it is still not clear, what dimensions of firms' external knowledge search strategy are crucial in determining their innovation success and whether these search strategies are contingent on different innovation modes. In this study, we analyse how the innovative performance is affected by the scope, depth, and orientation of firms' external search strategies. We apply this analysis to firms using STI (science, technology and innovation) and DUI (doing, using and interacting) innovation modes. Based on a survey among firms in China, we find that greater scope and depth of openness for both innovation modes improves innovative performance indicating that open innovation is also relevant beyond science and technology based innovation. Furthermore, we find that decreasing returns in external search strategies, suggested by , are not always present and are contingent on the innovation modes. Next, we find that the type of external partners (we label it “orientation of openness”) is crucial in explaining innovative performance and that firms using DUI or STI innovation modes have different sets of relevant innovation partners. This shows that the orientation of openness is an important dimension—in addition to the scope and depth of openness. As respondents are located in China, this study provides evidence that open innovation is also relevant in developing countries. ► Open innovation is also beneficial beyond science and technology based innovation. ► Greater scope and depth of openness improves firm's innovative performance. ► The orientation of openness is crucial in explaining innovative performance. ► Firms using different innovation modes require different types of partners.
Public procurement is increasingly viewed as having important potential to drive innovation. Despite this interest, numerous barriers prevent the public sector from acting as an intelligent and informed customer. This paper seeks to understand how barriers related to processes, competences, procedures and relationships in public procurement influence suppliers׳ ability to innovate and to reap the benefits of innovation. We address this by exploiting a dedicated survey of public sector suppliers in the UK, using a probit model to investigate the influence of structural, market and innovation determinants on suppliers׳ perception of these barriers. The main barriers reported by suppliers refer to the lack of interaction with procuring organisations, the use of over-specified tenders as opposed to outcome based specifications, low competences of procurers and a poor management of risk during the procurement process. Such barriers are perceived most strongly by R&D intensive organisations. Our results also indicate that certain organisations, particularly smaller firms and not-forprofit organisations, encounter greater difficulties with innovation arising from the procurement process, for instance in relation to contract size, lack of useful feedback and communication of opportunities. Government procurement policies are queried in light of the findings.
Despite extensive discussion about the important role of government in enterprise development, the function of government grants in the innovation activities of high-technology (high-tech) industries is still unclear. In this paper, the stochastic frontier model and a unique panel data set of 17 high-tech industries in China spanning the 2001–2011 period are applied to explore how government grants affect the innovation performance of these industries. Results indicate that the innovation efficiency of high-tech industries rapidly improved in the past decade. However, it is found that government grants exert a negative influence on innovation efficiency of high-tech industries. However, the impact of private R&D funding is significant and positive. Furthermore, when the high-tech industries are grouped into five sub-industries, the results show that government grants had different effects on the innovation in each sub-industry.
It is commonly accepted nowadays that innovations are brought forward in an interactive process of knowledge generation and application. The business sector, the science sector, and policy actors are involved in this process as has been stressed in concepts such as innovation systems and the network approach. It is still unclear, however, as to what extent different kinds of innovation rely on specific knowledge sources and links. More advanced innovations on the one hand might draw more on scientific knowledge, generated in universities and research organizations. Such knowledge is often exchanged in personal interactions at a local or regional level. Incremental innovations and the adoption of new technologies, on the other hand, seem to occur often in interaction with partners from the business sector also at higher spatial levels. In this paper, we analyze such patterns of knowledge links. After dealing with knowledge interactions from a conceptual view and reviewing the relevant literature, we present an empirical analysis for Austria. The findings show that firms introducing more advanced innovations are relying to a higher extent on R&D and patents, and that they are cooperating more often with universities and research organizations. Firms having introduced less advanced innovations rely more on knowledge links with business services. Furthermore, the employment of researchers was identified as a key factor enhancing knowledge interactions of firms with universities.