June 4, 2009

Open innovation: structure vs. culture

At OUI 2009, Katharina Hoelzle of Technische Universität Berlin presented a potentially ground-breaking paper on open innovation. It was presented as a 3-minute abstract of an “ongoing project” — which means no data yet, and not a lot of details.

Working with her professor Hans Georg Gemünden, Hoelze argued that there are two key dimensions of firm readiness for open innovation
  • Structural: networks, process, instrumens, contracts
  • Cultural: incentives, barriers to innovation, actors (either champions or promoters)
The success of firms is thus the combination of success on these two dimensions, moderated by contingency factors (which weren’t specified).

She presented a two-dimensional plot that shows how a firms can be classified on these two dimensions. (Here shown as a 2x2 rather than continuous values along each dimension):

 
Cultural
Low
High
Structural
High
Open Innovation department
“True” Open Innovation
Low
No open innovation
Open Innovation mindset

I would label it slightly differently:

 
Cultural
Low
High
Structural
High
Open Innovation department
Integrated Open Innovation
Low
Closed innovation
Open Innovation mindset

Either way, this nicely captures my observations about firms and their failure to implement open innovation. Some firms seem driven by the structure; some firms acquire an innovation hotshot (or make a convert) without doing anything else to make it happen. It takes both to sustain a successful open innovation strategy.

1 comment:

Marcelo Lage said...

Very interesting work indeed! Any closing date for the paper to be released?