Open Social Innovation Dynamics and Impact: Exploratory Study of a Fab Lab Network

13 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020

See all articles by Thierry Rayna

Thierry Rayna

École Polytechnique, i3-CRG, UMR CNRS 9217

Ludmila Striukova

SKEMA Business School - Paris la Défense Campus

Date Written: June 2019

Abstract

The aim of this research is to explore the dynamics and impact of open social innovation, within the context of fab labs and makerspaces. Using an exploratory methodology based on 12 semi‐structured interviews of fab lab founders belonging to The Centres for Maker Innovation and Technology (CMIT) programme – a network of 170 fab labs located in Eastern Europe – this research explores the impact of an adopting an open approach in relation to the different stages of social innovation (prompts, proposals, prototypes, sustaining, scaling and diffusion, systemic change) as well as social impact. The main results of this study are that while the CMIT programme provided each fab lab with similar initial conditions (identical funding, objectives and rules), the open social innovation approached adopted enabled to give birth to a wide diversity of fab labs, each being very well adapted to the local environment, social needs and constraints and able to deliver social impact in just a matter of years; a result that would be hard to achieve with a centralised top‐down approach. The study identified three types of CMITs – Education, Industry and Residential – which could be similar or different depending on the stage of social open innovation. Furthermore, this paper discusses the main difficulties social entrepreneurs encounter as a part of the open social innovation process, as well as means to overcome them. In this respect, this study adds to the literature on fab labs by providing more comprehensive view of the challenges faced by fab labs (and makerspaces) founders, as well as suggestions of strategies enabling to ensure their long‐term sustainability.

Suggested Citation

Rayna, Thierry and Striukova, Ludmila, Open Social Innovation Dynamics and Impact: Exploratory Study of a Fab Lab Network (June 2019). R&D Management, Vol. 49, Issue 3, pp. 383-395, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3617095 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/radm.12376

Thierry Rayna (Contact Author)

École Polytechnique, i3-CRG, UMR CNRS 9217 ( email )

828 boulevard Marshals
Paris, 91762
France

Ludmila Striukova

SKEMA Business School - Paris la Défense Campus ( email )

Paris la Défense, 92916
France

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