September 26, 2013

Clean OI story in Bath

Last week, I was fortunate to present the opening keynote at the Strategizing Open Innovation workshop at the University of Bath School of Management.

It was everything a small conference (~55 attendees) should be: a concentration of specialized expertise, a single track, plenty of time for discussing each paper, a chance to meet any participant. In short, it was everything that the Academy of Management (with its 10,000 attendees and 12 minute presentations) is not.

It’s always interesting to learn what others are doing in their open innovation research. Letizia Mortara summarized the sizable ongoing research program at the Institute for Manufacturing at Cambridge, which focuses on how firms are actually using open innovation. With Tim Minshall, Mortara has authored a number of papers that provide important new insights into adoption, implementation and adaptation of open innovation by companies. IMHO, one of the most interesting is their chapter (Chapter 12) in the forthcoming Chesbrough-Vanhaverbeke-West OI book from Oxford.

Keynote speaker Teppo Felin (formerly of BYU, now of Oxford) linked OI to two bodies of work: his own work (with a famous purple dinosaur) on microfoundations and the Nickerson-Zenger work on the problem unit of analysis that led to his OI paper with Zenger (that the latter summarized last May in Atlanta). Ammon Salter (formerly of Imperial, now at Bath) presented an in-progress paper that links OI to Cyert & March, co-authored with Oliver Alexy (formerly of Imperial, now at TU M√ľnchen).

In addition to the keynote and my own paper, I was also tasked with summarizing the future of open innovation. Probably no one was surprised that I plugged both the 2014 Research Policy special issue (with Chesbrough, Salter and Vanhaverbeke) and the forthcoming Oxford book.

However, in my closing comments, I also sought to classify the research presented at the conference using three typologies:
  1. Three modes of open innovation (Gassmann & Enkel, 2004; Enkel et al 2009): inbound (outside-in), outbound (inside-out) and coupled;
  2. Four phase OI process model (West & Bogers, 2013): obtaining, integrating, commercializing (& interaction); and
  3. OI adoption process (of the Montara & Minshall chapter): antecedents to OI, implementation, results
The trend (i.e. most popular alternative) was pretty much as I would have predicted. The one encouraging exception was that there were three papers about results, i.e. papers that measure the outcomes of open innovation.

At the end, we were all grateful to the School of Management and our organizers, Felicia Fai & Anthony Roath, for putting on such a productive conference. (Most of us would also thank the Italian invaders for building such a durable Romanesque structure in Bath during the first millennium).
Keynote speakers  Letizia Mortara and Teppo Felin at the
conference dinner reception. Photo by Joel West

No comments: