Bringing open innovation into practice

Methods and approaches

Authored by: Frank Piller , Sumit Mitra , Susanna Ghosh Mitra

The Routledge Companion to Innovation Management

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138244719
eBook ISBN: 9781315276670
Adobe ISBN:


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Open innovation (OI) is an interactive process of knowledge generation, and firms can search for external sources of innovation by collaborating with a variety of external stakeholders or by seeking out specialists with useful knowledge (Nieto and Santamaría, 2007). This includes partnering with suppliers, customers, competitors, complementors, organizations that offer similar products in different markets, organizations that offer different products in similar markets, nonprofit organizations, government organizations, universities, or others (Schilling, 2013). Collaboration can be used for many different purposes, including manufacturing, services, and marketing, as well as technology-based objectives, and involves selective collaboration strategies linking the knowledge content to specific partners to leverage the benefits and limit the costs of knowledge boundary-crossing processes (Bengtsson et al., 2015). Factors that influence the use of external sources of innovation include not only the characteristics of the external source but also internal factors such as R&D capabilities and complementary assets (Ceccagnoli, Graham, Higgins, and Lee, 2010; Teirlinck, Dumont, and Spithoven, 2010). Hence, the selection of appropriate OI partners is essential for the success of open innovation, depending on the specific project’s purpose, the innovation process phase, and the required expertise or context factors, such as the confidentiality of knowledge and project results (Bengtsson et al., 2015; Todtling, Lehner, and Kaufmann, 2009).

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