Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Assumptions behind Open Innovation.

A 2010 paper "How Open is Innovation?" [doi:10.1016/j.respol.2010.01.013], by Linus Dahlandera of Stanford University and David M. Gannb of Imperial College London provides a good literature review for the concept of Open Innovation. It's a valuable contribution to our understanding of the process because many people use Open Innovation as a buzzword without really knowing what it describes. For me, it was interesting to see Open Innovation assumptions spelled out in some detail.
The concept [Open Innovation] has common currency for at least four reasons.

- First, it reflects social and economic changes in working patterns, where professionals seek portfolio careers rather than a job-for-life with a single employer. Firms therefore need to find new ways of accessing talent that might not wish to be employed exclusively and directly.
- Second, globalization has expanded the extent of the market that allows for an increased division of labour.
- Third, improved market institutions such as intellectual property rights (IPR), venture capital (VC), and technology standards allow for organization to trade ideas.
- Fourth, new technologies allow for new ways to collaborate and coordinate across geographical distances.
The third item on the list is particularly important (in the context of this blog) because it shows that Open Innovation assumes strong intellectual property rights. The disconnect with the reality is that many participants of the Open Innovation process assume that it implies availability of technology free of IP claims. As a result, they get unpleasantly surprised when the claims are asserted against technologies acquired through Open Innovation.
One of the reason behind the latest round of patent wars is this gap in understanding of what Open Innovation is vs what it is thought to be.

tags: innovation, patents, battle, mobile, technology, business, model

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