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.

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