December 14, 2018

End of the 5th World Open Innovation Conference

After two days at the SFO Marriott, the 5th World Open Innovation Conference is now in the books. The experiment we started four years ago now is well established as a permanent fixture.

I would love to talk about what I saw, but in the first four sessions (plus the poster session) my assignment was fixed by presenting 1 paper, 1 poster, watching a co-author present a paper, a session discussant and a participant in one of the industry challenges.

Of the keynotes, I thought Scott Stern’s presentation on his forthcoming Entrepreneurial Strategy textbook was dynamite. It will change how I teach entrepreneurship, and likely how I research and practice it as well. Melissa Schilling’s presentation on platform ecosystems was thought-provoking at times, but not as novel since we have had a large overlap of research interests for the past 20 years. The John Chambers keynote was really impressive — I've never heard him speak before, and us mere mortals don’t go around telling heads of state of the leading Western democracies what they should be doing about promoting entrepreneurship and job growth.

As with OUI, even on the Left Coast WOIC now has a very European flavor to it. It’s always good to have American academics, but the bread and butter of the global innovation studies invisible community are the Europeans. I guess without Herr Doktor von Hippel as the guest of honor, it has a less Germanic feel, but still — particularly compared to the first two WOIC — the European audience is a core (if not the core constituency). (I was program chair the first two years, and I remember at least one year worrying about the attrition of Europeans who were accepted and then cancelled at the last minute).

This was the second time I presented a poster at WOIC. As before, I felt the feedback was better in the poster format than in the paper presentations, and lament the decision of many conference (including AOM) to discontinue this format. Of course it helps that (as in the initial year) the posters are held during cocktail hour and everyone is in a good mood.
A shout out to all my old (and new) OI friends. Safe travels home, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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