Innovation Labs: Leveraging Openness for Radical Innovation?

29 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2015 Last revised: 17 Apr 2016

Lidia Gryszkiewicz

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

Ioanna Lykourentzou

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

Tuukka Toivonen

UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

Date Written: April 8, 2016

Abstract

A growing range of public, private and civic organisations, from Unicef through Nesta to NHS, now run units known as “innovation labs”. The hopeful assumption they share is that labs, by building on openness among other features, can generate promising solutions to grand challenges of systemic nature. Despite their seeming proliferation and popularisation, the underlying innovation principles embodied by labs have, however, received scant academic attention. This is a missed opportunity, because innovation labs appear to leverage openness for radical innovation in an unusual fashion. Indeed, in this exploratory paper we draw on original interview data and online self-descriptions to illustrate that, beyond convening “uncommon partners” across organisational boundaries, labs apply the principle of openness throughout the innovation process, including the experimentation and development phases. While the emergence of labs clearly forms part of a broader trend towards openness, we show how it transcends established conceptualisations of open innovation (Chesbrough, 2006), open science (David, 1998) or open government (Janssen et al., 2012).

Keywords: innovation labs, openness, open innovation

JEL Classification: O31

Suggested Citation

Gryszkiewicz, Lidia and Lykourentzou, Ioanna and Toivonen, Tuukka, Innovation Labs: Leveraging Openness for Radical Innovation? (April 8, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2556692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2556692

Lidia Gryszkiewicz (Contact Author)

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) ( email )

5, avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux
Esch/Alzette, L-4362
Luxembourg

Ioanna Lykourentzou

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) ( email )

5, avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux
Esch/Alzette, L-4362
Luxembourg

Tuukka Hannu Toivonen

UCL Institute for Global Prosperity ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.igp.ucl.ac.uk

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