The Future of Open Innovation

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The future of open innovation
Oliver Gassmann1, Ellen Enkel2 and Henry Chesbrough3
Institute of Technology Management, University of St. Gallen, Dufourstrasse 40a, CH-9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland. oliver.gassmann@unisg.ch 2 Dr. Manfred Bischoff Institute of Innovation Management of EADS, Zeppelin University, Am Seemoser Horn 20, D-88045 Friedrichshafen, Germany. ellen.enkel@zeppelin-university.de 3 Center for Open Innovation, F402 Hass School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1930, USA. chesbrou@haas.berkeley.edu 1

Institutional openness is becoming increasingly popular in practice and academia: open innovation, open R&D and open business models. Our special issue builds on the concepts, underlying assumptions and implications discussed in two previous R&D Management special issues (2006, 2009). This overview indicates nine perspectives needed to develop an open innovation theory more fully. It also assesses some of the recent evidence that has come to light about open innovation, in theory and in practice.

1. Perspectives on open innovation

T

he open innovation phenomenon has developed from a small club of innovation practitioners, mostly active in high-tech industries, to a widely discussed and implemented innovation practice. Simultaneously, a small community of management researchers has recently developed into an established research field. This is reflected by several special issues on open innovation, for example, R&D Management 2006, 2009, and the International Journal of Technology Management 2010a, b. Consequently, single lectures by early proponents have been supplemented by large management seminars on open innovation, which are often fully booked. Once a field grows rapidly, there is a danger that it may become a short-term fashion and hype. This special issue reports on recent research evidence to further develop the open innovation research field. Open innovation has been defined as ‘. . . the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively’ (Chesbrough et al., 2006). While the

initial works looked primarily at research and development (R&D) processes, a number of research areas have grown out of this perspective. Open innovation is based on these different research streams. We think it useful to organize these streams into nine different perspectives: (1) The spatial perspective leads to research on the globalization of innovation. Since research, technology and product development have become more global in a flat world, open innovation has become easier. On the one hand, being physically close to regional centers of excellence enables a firm to increase its absorptive capacity, therefore promoting access to the knowledge and competences of the best talents worldwide without having to employ them (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990). Access to resources is one of the main drivers of R&D’s internationalization. Prominent examples of such R&D are Norvatis’s research in New Jersey, BMW’s design center in Palo Alto and Hitachi’s research lab in Dublin (von Zedtwitz and Gassmann, 2002). New information and communication technologies 1

R&D Management ]], ], 2010. r 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation r 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main St, Malden, MA, 02148, USA

Oliver Gassmann, Ellen Enkel and Henry Chesbrough enable virtual R&D teams and decentralized innovation processes (Boutellier et al., 1998). (2) The structural perspective shows that work division has increased in innovation. There is a strong trend toward more R&D outsourcing and alliances (Hagedoorn and Duysters, 2002). Industries’ value chains are becoming more disaggregated. Drivers of this trend are cost reduction and greater specialization due to more complex technologies and product systems. Open innovation approaches compensate for central R&D units by not just...
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