Open Data for Open Innovation: Managing Absorptive Capacity in Smes
16 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020 Last revised: 6 Oct 2020
Date Written: January 2020
Open Data (OD) utilisation has been encouraged by governments because of its potential to fuel digital innovation. Despite this, there is a paucity of study into the role of OD for SMEs, in contrast to the growing literature that has focused on the collection and sharing of OD by the public sector. As such, our study contributes to open innovation research by analysing the main capabilities needed to overcome existing barriers to successfully manage OD in SMEs. Building upon the recent SME‐oriented OI literature and adopting an interpretative absorptive capacity framework, we analyse the data collected from 30 semi‐structured interviews with experts working in UK organisations adopting OD‐based OI strategies. We find a number of core factors that shape OD acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation by SMEs. Results show that without the specific OD capabilities identified in our study, it will be difficult for SMEs to successfully use OD, which may explain why the uptake of OD by SMEs more broadly has so far been limited. These unique OD capabilities need to be better developed by OD using SMEs, if this ‘raw material’ for the digital economy is to be fully exploited.
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