December 30, 2008

Bringing Open Innovation to Latin America

Last month for Global Entrepreneurship Week, I was invited to speak at a half-day seminar in Santiago, Chile entitled “Seminario Innovacion Abierta = Conectando Conocimiento”. (Translation: “Open Innovation Seminar = Connecting Knowledge”).

It was a great honor to speak at the event. The opening speaker was Hugo Lavados, the Minister of Economy for the Chilean government. I spoke last to allow for the uncertainty of arrival time and the risk of delay for my redeye flight from Los Angeles. (We need not have worried, as the LAN Chile flight arrived promptly at 6am).

Earlier, I posted a summary of open innovation readings for the seminar participants. The slides for the event have now been posted to the seminar website; naturally, all slides but my own are in Spanish.

The slides include the minister’s talk as well as an interesting talk by a representative of Minera Los Pelambres, Chile’s major copper mine. Not included is the talk by Dupont that I summarized earlier on this blog.

The summary of my qualifications, alas, embellishes things a bit. I am a collaborator of the famous Henry Chesbrough on open innovation but one of many (and one of two on the second Open Innovation book). Still, it was a pleasure to bring the discussion of open innovation to Chile, a country that has historically relied on natural resources (mining and farming) rather than industry for its economic growth.

Prof. Chesbrough himself has been spreading the open innovation message in Latin America, including a visit last June to Brazil. His presentation is on YouTube and his slides are posted to

December 15, 2008

Seeking openness in Google Scholar

Although we have some good paid databases at SJSU, I’ve become addicted to Google Scholar since first using it in November 2004. It’s a quick and fast way to find research on a given topic, not to mention the main enable of certain types of vanity searches.

However, Google does not make it easy for others to build applications on top of Google Scholar, i.e. by providing APIs to allow third party access — the way they do for Google search or Google Maps.

Such APIs would allow new applications to be created to service the needs of scholars for finding and cross-referencing academic research. Apparently the Google engineers (or their bosses) are not persuaded that these APIs are worth doing.

There’s a thread on Google’s site where at least 30 people (mostly academics) have asked for it. I’m hoping others (i.e. blog readers) will comment there as well.

December 9, 2008

Padua open source CFP

The Department of Economics at the Università di Padova has issued a CFP for the 3rd FLOSS International Workshop on Free/Libre Open Source Software. Normally I ignore anything that uses FLOSS or FOSS as a euphemism for OSS, but it appears to be a common affliction in Europe.

This is only indirectly related to the themes of this blog, but there is one bullet item on the list of recommended topics:
Innovation models (FLOSS [sic] based innovation, open innovation, user innovation, public domain innovation, standards and interoperability, appropriability, sustainability and competitive advantage, etc.).
The workshop will be held July 2-3, 2009 and the deadline is March 31, 2009. For more information, see the workshop website.

December 1, 2008

Summer of UOI

I’ve been meaning to post a note for readers about two open innovation-related academic conference sessions I attended last August.

The first was the User and Open Innovation Workshop held in August, sponsored by Harvard and MIT. While regular blog readers saw my many postings, you might not have seen the list of papers presented that I posted (with permission of co-organizer Karim Lakhani) to the website.

The second was the Academy of Management symposium organized by Marcel Bogers. The symposium title was “User Innovation and Firm Boundaries: Organizing for Innovation by Users.” In addition to Marcel, there were four knowledgeable speakers: Allan Afuah, Lars Bo Jeppesen, Wim Vanhaverbeke and yours truly. In addition we had two great discussants: Frank Piller and Chris Tucci.

The session was mainly about user innovation: certainly that was the main focus of Marcel’s intro and Chris’ comments, as well as the three other papers: Allan’s talk on a user innovation life cycle model, Wim’s discussion of industrial lead users, and Lars’ talk on the role of users as complementers in game mods.

However, open innovation also made an appearance. In my talk I continued my efforts to try to integrate user and open innovation. As a discussant, Frank Piller did a great job of engaging those (and other) talks at a deep level.

The question of integrating these theories continued into our discussion period. Our first audience participant, Hank Chesbrough, asked about unifying the various theories and managing the complexity of the process. Also in the audience was Christina Raasch, who (with prompting by me) talked about her forthcoming paper on user innovation in sailboats.

Overall, with all the smarts in the room it was one of the best discussions I’ve ever heard at Academy. As Frank observed at the end, the topic (and in fact the session itself) were about co-creation, a theme that came through particularly strongly in Lars’ and Wim’s talks.

I’ve posted the slides that I have so far to the website. The ones that we have so far are great, and I’m still hoping to fill in the missing talks.