Development of an Infrastructure to Support Open Innovation
27 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2011
Date Written: September 29, 2011
The aim of this paper is to explore the role that hard and soft infrastructure can play in supporting the successful implementation of open innovation at particular geographic locations. While there is a fast-growing body of knowledge relating to the implementation of open innovation in its wide-range of forms, the role geographic location and infrastructure to support open innovation has received limited research attention. This topic is important for three reasons: Firstly, public policymakers are increasingly recognising a role for open innovation in supporting regional economic development and the attraction of inward investment. Secondly, large corporations see open innovation as a mechanism to support the re-positioning their existing R&D assets in the face of rapid technological and market change. Thirdly, there are strong interconnections between the previous two agendas. We begin this paper by identifying relevant concepts from the literature on multi-party innovation, types of knowledge, knowledge transfer, inter-organisational networks, clusters, and relational capabilities. We then focus on three case studies illustrating contrasting approaches to designing and managing an infrastructure to support open innovation at different locations. The paper analyses each of the cases using the concepts derived from the literature review. The cases reveal that there is an important role for both hard and soft infrastructure in supporting social interaction in the collaborative innovation process, and that there are contrasting models for how these infrastructure elements can be delivered. However, reflecting the relative newness of the current wave of interest in open innovation, all three of the cases considered are, to a greater or lesser extent, still at the early stages of their development and so the sustainability of the business models used cannot yet be judged. In addition, all three face similar challenges in measuring the effectiveness of their open innovation support activities in delivering specific outcomes for their stakeholders. The paper concludes by drawing upon the analysis to highlight areas of further research on the links between open innovation and location that address the needs of managers and policymakers.
Keywords: open innovation, location, geography
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