Project leaders: Andy Cosh and Joanne Zhang
Other Principal Investigators: Alan Hughes (Cambridge), Michael Kitson (Cambridge), Tim Minshall (Cambridge), Ammon Salter (Imperial), Oliver Alexy (Imperial), Elif Moreau-Bascavusoglu (Cambridge), Gerald Avison (Business), Chas Sims (Business)
Project dates: 2009-2014
Funding: ESRC, NESTA, BIS, TSB
The growing interest in open innovation has been driven by the phenomenon where organisations are increasingly moving toward network-based forms of innovation, sourcing ideas through licensing agreements, formal alliances and mergers and acquisitions and the use of a wide variety of sources of knowledge for innovation. Although attempts to examine open innovation using the UK innovation survey have made some progress, we still lack in-depth data at the sectoral level and a clear theoretical understanding of how firms build capabilities to be open and how they can successful integrate external actors into their innovation processes.
In order to deepen and extend our existing knowledge on the nature and extent of open innovation among UK firms, this project aims to shed light on the organizational mechanisms and capabilities as well as institutional arrangements that are required to foster effective open innovation. In particular, it addresses three questions:
Our "open innovation" survey among UK firms with up to 999 employees, covering both manufacturing and business services sectors in 2010 resulted in 1202 completed interviews. The full report 'Open innovation choices: what is British enterprise doing?' was published in June 2011 and a launch event was held at NESTA. Subsequently, the report was presented to an OECD NESTI meeting and this may result in collaboration over the creation of an open innovation module that could be bolted on to existing innovation surveys (particularly CIS).
- How do patterns of usage of OI practices vary across firms, sectors and sizes?
- What are the factors driving the firms' usage of OI practices?
- How does the firms' usage of OI practices affect their innovativeness and performance?
We have also actively engaged in academic, policymaker and practitioner community to discuss and disseminate our research. Several papers are being prepared by members of the team and a number have been accepted for publication. A key conference is to be held in June to celebrate a decade since Chesbrough coined the term open innovation and a special issue of Research Policy on "Open Innovation" and several members of the team have had papers accepted for this conference.
In addition to this exploitation of the results of our survey, other case study work has been initiated that will provide rich insights into how open innovation does, and does not, work.