September 21, 2009

(Non)monetary incentives for external innovation

Crowdsourcing is a form of open innovation (and in some cases, user innovation) that attempts to get a large pool of outsiders to solve a problem. Product recommendations at Amazon etc. are probably the most often seen example.

As Scott Gallagher & I noted in our 2006 book chapter, many of these contributions are motivated by nonmonetary incentives. Reputation and publicity are the most likely rewards — whether they can be monetized to get a job or sell a product, or just as a way to stroke an ego.

However, some organizations are using large (e.g. $1 million) prizes to encourage a supply of external innovations. Two examples this morning were the Netflix algorithm challenge and NASA’s search for a new lunar lander. More on both at my Open IT Strategies blog.

September 18, 2009

Open innovation progress in last three years

About 18 months ago, the journal R&D Management called for papers on open innovation. This month, the journal has published the resulting special issue, edited by Ellen Enkel, Oliver Gassman and Henry Chesbrough. (No one told me the issue was out, but I found it while updating the Open Innovation website.)

Below is the list of articles. The most striking thing about the nine articles (not counting the introductory article by the editors) is how German the issue is: seven articles by German authors, one from Switzerland, one from the U.K. (and none from outside Europe).

But if you dig a little deeper, what’s more impressive is that almost all of the articles are about Open Innovation. This means there’s a depth of open innovation research and researchers (at least in Germany) producing open innovation research good enough for a good journal like R&D Management.

Having articles about open innovation seem unremarkable. However, if you look at the previous R&D Management special issue in June 2006, five of the nine articles were clearly about user innovation with only passing mention (if at all) of open innovation as generally defined. This is no big deal if you want to argue that open innovation has subsumed and supplanted user innovation, but it is encouraging to draw the distinction if you believe (as I do) that they are related but distinct streams of research.

The most personally gratifying paper was that of Klaus Fichter on innovation communities, which picked up on two suggestions I made for open innovation researchers to expand their focus. One was the call (with Karim Lakhani) to more precisely use the “community” construction in open and user innovation research. The other (in the editor’s closing chapter of our 2006 book) was for a broader range of methodologies and levels of analysis in open innovation research. If open science is supposed to be the cumulative production of shared knowledge, as a researcher it was rewarding to see the work I’d done has had some impact.

It was also nice to see publication of the paper by Christina Raasch and her Harburg colleagues on tangible goods — including “free” beer and open source car — that was presented in a well-attended session at OUI 2009. Congratulations to all for their newly published papers.

Ellen Enkel, Oliver Gassmann, Henry ChesbroughOpen R&D and open innovation: exploring the phenomenon10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00570.x
Ulrich LichtenthalerOutbound open innovation and its effect on firm performance: examining environmental influences 10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00561.x
Marcus Matthias Keupp, Oliver GassmannDeterminants and archetype users of open innovation10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00563.x
Winfried Ebner, Jan Marco Leimeister, Helmut KrcmarCommunity engineering for innovations: the ideas competition as a method to nurture a virtual community for innovations10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00564.x
Klaus FichterInnovation communities: the role of networks of promotors in Open Innovation10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00562.x
Gordon Müller-Seitz, Guido RegerIs open source software living up to its promises? Insights for open innovation management from two open source software-inspired projects10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00565.x
Christina Raasch, Cornelius Herstatt, Kerstin BalkaOn the open design of tangible goods10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00567.x
Sara Holmes, Palie SmartExploring open innovation practice in firm-nonprofit engagements: a corporate social responsibility perspective10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00569.x
Anne-Katrin Neyer, Angelika C. Bullinger, Kathrin M. MoesleinIntegrating inside and outside innovators: a sociotechnical systems perspective10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00566.x
René Rohrbeck, Katharina Hölzle, Hans Georg GemündenOpening up for competitive advantage – How Deutsche Telekom creates an open innovation ecosystem10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00568.x

September 17, 2009

Updated website

Tonight I took care of some long-deferred maintenance and fixes for the open innovation website. That includes
  • fixing the navigation header (on at least some pages),
  • update the research page, with long-overdue reference to Daniel Fasnacht’s new book; and
  • add a preliminary page for teaching open innovation.
There is still plenty of work to do.

In particular, right now I’m looking for teaching cases that can be used to teach open innovation (as I’ve defined on this blog). If you have any suggestions, drop me a line.

I’m also trying to fix a quirk in Apache server side includes (accessing a header file in another directory), but hopefully that will be transparent to the reader.

Finally, I’m experimenting with the color scheme for this blog to more closely match that of the website while still being readable. Please be patient.

September 10, 2009

Berkeley resumes its Open Innovation series

Next week, the Center for Open Innovation at UC Berkeley is resuming its speaker series on Open Innovation that it began last year. The talks are being held at 2pm on Monday afternoons at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society on the Berkeley campus.

Below is the current schedule (with one small correction):

Aug. 31 Henry Chesbrough COI Executive Director UC-Berkeley
Sept. 14 Joel West Associate Professor San Jose State University
Sept. 21 Judy EstrinCEO J Labs
Sept. 28 Keval DesaiDirector of Product Mgt Google
Oct. 5 Joachim HenkelChair, Professor Technical Univ. of Munich
Oct. 12 Hyun Park Head, Global Offering Mgt Nokia
Oct. 19 Sabine BrunswickerManager/Senior Researcher Fraunhofer Institute
Oct. 26 Lesa MitchellVice President Kauffman Foundation
Nov. 2 Wim VanhaverbekeProfessor Leuven University
Nov. 9 TBD
Nov. 16 Rob ValliAcademic/Consultant Cambridge University, UK
Nov. 23 Vivek WadhwaProfessor Harvard Law School
Nov. 30 Marco ten VaanholtVice President SAP Community Network
Dec. 7 Johann FuellerCo-Founder Hyve

Henry said today that last week’s organizational meeting was full — mostly with engineering and business graduate students. I’m looking forward to seeing how big the audience is on Monday.

September 9, 2009

Silicon Valley technology sourcing

More than 15 years ago, when I was helping to start a software trade association in San Diego we flew up to study the Software Developer‘s Forum. Today SDForum is helping foster solutions to technical and business problems across a wide range of industries.

Next week, on Sept. 18 SDForum is hosting something it calls its “Second Annual Open Innovation and Corporate Research Fair.” The event is being held at Techmart, next to the Santa Clara Convention Center. Since I didn’t go to the first, I wasn’t sure how this year’s session relates to the definition of open innovation or whether it even would count.

The program has keynotes from EMC, Forbes, IBM and Nokia Research. So far, it sounds like yet another Silicon Valley conference. However, three hours in, there is a single one hour panel discussion
11:30am: Panel Discussion: "Open Innovation in Practice"
Panelists will discuss how large high-tech corporations source technologies from outside developers explain how partnerships are formed, technology acquisition and transfer deals are structured.
OK, so here “open innovation” is being used as a synonym for “buying outside technology.”

Of course, that’s not the definition of open innovation. Still, there is a plausible enough overlap to use the buzzword.

It would be nice if someday the conference were to actually talk about open innovation in its totality — transforming how firms think about creating and commercializing innovations. But right now the term seems to be used mainly for big companies firing their R&D staff to outsource technology development or to rebrand existing university relations efforts.