February 9, 2011

Innovation paths spanning fiefdoms

When comparing open, user and cumulative innovation, one interesting pattern is that in some ways, open innovation is more like user innovation than other forms of open innovation.

The inbound mode of open innovation is about bringing external innovations into the firm for commercialization. So is the most corporate-oriented of user innovation research. There may be differences about the motivations (or unit of analysis) of the innovation supplier, but both streams encourage firms to look outside for innovation.

Similarly, some of the user innovation research has emphasized peer-to-peer communities, outside the locus of any firm. Examples include the (separate) work of Christopher Heinerth, Christina Raasch and Sonali Shah on communities of sporting good user innovators in areas such as snowboard, kayaking and sailing. But if you look at the cumulative innovation work of Peter Meyer at the 2008 and 2010 OUI conferences, there are many similarities.

Examining these similarities of distributed innovation research — regardless of the literature where they are positioned — is the topic of a paper Marcel Bogers and I have been working on. We argue that there are distinct innovation modes based on the locus (inside/outside) of both innovation creation and commercialization. We then elaborate the various modes (commercialization paths) and contrast the similarities and differences within each mode.

We developed a paper elaborating these ideas which we presented at Academy of Management conference in Montréal last summer, and I also excerpted elements of these ideas during my talk in Göttingen in May.

We are working to finish the paper for journal submission Real Soon Now, but that has been delayed due to my main responsibilities teaching and (since July) running the SJSU Solar Workforce project.

Still, we thought the paper might be of interest to others, and since AOM (unlike DRUID) does not distribute papers, we decided to post a working copy. For now, we’ve posted our final pre-Academy draft to SSRN (paper # 1751025).

Since then, we’ve been dunned with e-mails saying our paper was in the top 10 (as high as 7!) in ”Knowledge Management and Innovation” topic of SSRN. (We’ve gotten other emails claiming it’s popular in other categories but those seem to be false alarms).

This is, however, one of the first pre-publication papers I’ve ever posted to SSRN, even though mentors like Carliss Baldwin or Shane Greenstein have been doing this for years. As a doctoral student, I once believed the fiction of double-blind reviews. But today with Google and SSRN, it’s rare that an important paper will arrive at the reviewer’s desk totally blind. I think this is particularly true for user innovation researchers, given the role that the annual OUI conference plays in introducing UI scholars to each other and highlighting in-progress research.

February 5, 2011

German custom OI coming to town - twice!

On Monday, Frank Piller will be the third speaker at the UC Berkeley Center for Open Innovation speaker series. Frank is well known in the open innovation community for his massive array of PhD students and postdocs at RWTH Aachen, his own substantial OI/UI publication record, and of course for his first love, mass customization.

On the latter front, Frank will be back to hold his biennial mass customization conference (#mcpc2011) here in the Bay Area on November 15-19. The 2011 theme is “Bridging Mass Customization & Open Innovation, and thus his co-chair is the father of open innovation (and COI director) Henry Chesbrough. The CFP has been posted and submissions are due March 30.

I’m sorry that I won’t be able to attend the talk: Mondays are a busy day for me and it’s two hours one way on the bus and BART. However, the COI speakers are being posted to YouTube. Here are the first two speakers:
Frank is always interesting to hear, and last year I got to hear him speak twice. We shared the podium at an OI PDW at the Academy in August where he talked about how a successful OI program was ousted with its champion. In May, we were the one-two opening speakers for an OI workshop in Göttingen.

His is one of three or four talks that I plan to watch — since the video should be available a few days later on YouTube. After the semester gets further along, I might be able to sneak away to see one or two, as long as I’m back in time to teach my 6pm class.

February 1, 2011

CFP: OUI mit Sachertorte im Juli

One of my favorite conferences of the year is the open and user innovation workshop, informally known among attendees as the Von Hippel Fest.

In 2011, the conference is returning to Vienna for the first time since the original 2003 User Innovation Workshop.

The hosts of the Open and User Innovation Workshop 2011 are two well-known user innovation scholars, Nikolaus Franke and Christopher Lettl. The conference will be held at the Institut für Entrepreneurship und Innovation at the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (aka WU Wien for us Yankees).

Nik & Chris have posted the details to a new website OUIcommunity.net. Some highlights of the CFP:
  • July 4-6, 2011
  • To be held in Vienna
  • About 200 scholars expected
  • Registration is first come, first served: early registration is recommended
  • Abstracts (of up to 2,000 words) are due by March 31, and the actual presentation is due May 31.
In addition to the minitalk and the full paper, the organizers are adding a third type of presentation, the panel discussion.

I was fortunate to be able to attend in 2008, 2009 and 2010. I hope to return this year if travel funding is available.