Open Innovation in Innovation Networks : Insights into the Automobile Industry

Kuester, Sabine ; Schuhmacher, Monika C. ; Werner, Ben D.

Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2008
The title of a journal, publication series: Management Know-how
Volume: M109e
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publishing house: Inst. für Marktorientierte Unternehmensführung
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > Marketing & Innovation (Kuester 2005-)
Subject: 330 Economics
Abstract: Innovation is a key driver of company growth. Innovations have become more complex and require know how from very different areas. Due to the various knowledge domains, one company can no longer develop all the competencies to create innovations. Thus, the innovation process is increasingly a place of interactive relationships between firms and their various partners in order to source competencies. This results in the establishment of innovation networks. Innovations are not always successful and especially in the consumer goods industry high failure rates of innovations are far from being an exception. This leads firms to analyze needs and wants of actual and potential customers even more carefully and to integrate them in innovation development. In the networked paradigm described above, this customer integration measures are increasingly orchestrated jointly by firms. This paper presents a qualitative research study investigating the future of customer integration in these innovation networks. Two research fields – customer integration in innovation development and innovation networks - have been investigated thoroughly. For innovation networks to be successful a company needs to establish a company culture of open innovation. The literature review regarding customer integration in innovation development highlights the importance of the timing and intensity of customer integration as well as the importance of the integrated customers’ characteristics. Using a set of twelve in-depth interviews with experts in the field of customer integration and innovation development were conducted. The objective was to uncover the growing relevance and more active role of customers within these network types. The experts emphasize that innovation networks are primarily used for the identification of trends and not for the actual generation of innovations. The exploratory research results also suggest that there will be a shift from a selective integration of customers in order to solve specific problems to a continuous information exchange during the entire innovation process. Regarding customer characteristics, the experts also propose a shift from the focus on lead users to customers’ creativity and a stronger involvement of customers from the relevant target groups. Future research should explore these results by using a more quantitative approach and investigate how to detect customers’ potential for creativity as well as ways to benefit from this creativity.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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