Motivating and supporting collabo...
Motivating and supporting collaboration in open innovation Maria Antikainen Department of Business and Technology Management, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland,Tampere, Finland, and Marko Makipaa �� �� �� and Mikko Ahonen Department of Computer Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland Abstract Purpose ��� The purpose of this paper is to explore collaboration in open innovation (OI) communities. The paper focuses on the following two research problems: how can users be motivated to collaborate in OI communities and what kind of tools and methods can support collaboration in OI communities? Design/methodology/approach ��� The exploratory case study includes three innovation intermediaries originated in three different countries: France, The Netherlands and Finland. The primary data source consists of the open-ended questions posted to the maintainers and users by e-mail. The data include five responses from the maintainers and 12 responses from the users. The secondary source is the internet document review. The classification of the factors in the preliminary framework is derived from reading and rereading the answers of the respondents until the themes started emerging from the data. Thereafter, the data are coded according to the chosen themes. Findings ��� Results suggest that monetary rewards are not always the best way to motivate contributing users. Instead, contributors appreciate many intangible factors, such as community cooperation, learning new ideas and having entertainment. Contributors also appreciate good support and the right cooperation tools from their service provider. Research limitations/implications ��� The data are based on three cases and a limited amount of participants. Therefore, it may be that in gathering empirical data from a larger group of cases, some new factors will be found. Practical implications ��� Companies should provide community members with tools that are easy to use, allowing people to express themselves and share their personal details. It seems to be important that maintainers are involved as visible members of a community, which includes telling about themselves in a more detailed way. Originality/value ��� This paper is one of the first papers focusing on the collaboration perspective of OI communities. Keywords Innovation, Intermediaries, Online operations, Communities, Motivation (psychology) Paper type Case study Introduction Towards understanding of open innovation and customer collaboration Previously, companies have sought to satisfy the varying needs of different customers and customer groups with product variety or with mass-customisation strategies The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/1460-1060.htm The authors thank Professor Brian Fitzgerald from University of Limerick and Professor Mike Newman from Manchester Business School for their valuable comments and suggestions for the paper. They are also grateful for the valuable information received from Ruben Robert from FellowForce, David Lionel from CrowdSpirit and Asta Back, �� Pirjo Nakki �� and Tytti Virtanen from VTT. This paper has been funded by the SOMED Project at VTT, Finland. EJIM 13,1 100 European Journal of Innovation Management Vol. 13 No. 1, 2010 pp. 100-119 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1460-1060 DOI 10.1108/14601061011013258
(Kottler, 1989 Da Silveira et al., 2001). Yet, more and more often, the existing solution space (Franke and Piller, 2003 Piller, 2004) is not enough in the tight global competition instead, companies have to find new solutions and new appealing offerings at an accelerated pace. Customer orientation and customization strategies are sought to better understand and satisfy the customer needs (Tseng and Piller, 2003, p. 4). But this may not be enough to attract customers and users. Market orientation (together with organizational learning) has a positive effect on performance through innovation (Jimez-Jimez et al., 2008) suggesting that most valuable output gained from market orientation is market intelligence. Together with organizational learning, this intelligence can be used for innovations, creating product, process and administrative innovations that increase performance (Jimez-Jimez et al., 2008). New product development is an activity that has previously been a highly closed process and involved only few people in organizations. New level of demand for innovativeness appoints new challenges for this model. Organizations need to be enriched with new external knowledge, which can be brought in by employees from related industries the organisation is aiming at, or by collaborations (Broring �� and Herzog, 2008). One way to acquire new knowledge in a cost-efficient way is to involve customers in the innovation development process. Utilising customers��� creativity and innovation capability has a lot of potential for new product development, as shown by many recent studies (Wikstrom, �� 1996 Piller, 2004 von Hippel, 2005). Heiskanen et al. (2007) suggest that more open-ended approach to concept testing is needed with aim to encourage users to evaluate concepts more critically. Involving customers more into processes may also lover barriers to adopting new innovations. However, individually, customers might not be capable of creating the best possible products as their views of products might be limited to a certain perspective. Also, the market potential for products innovated by a single customer might be low. Earlier studies have shown that collective thinking is important in order to be able to maximise the efficiency of individuals��� innovation (Hargadon and Bechky, 2006 Thrift, 2006). Instead of concentrating on an individual customer or a lead user, companies should support group or community creativity (Ahonen et al., 2007). Thrift (2006, p. 279) summarises the current trends in the innovation arena: The new understanding of innovation currently shows up as three associated developments: as the mobilization of forethought, as the deepening of the lure of the commodity through the co-creation of commodities with consumers, and as the construction of different kinds of apparently more innovative space suffused with information technology. As described by Thrift (2006), the innovation process, ideation, and collaboration in new product development are becoming more open. Open innovation (OI) concept (Chesbrough, 2003) is a growing research area and increasing amount of companies is utilizing it. So far, much of the extant literature is concentrated on to describe the phenomenon and its logic, and more recently to define competent business strategies for OI. But an OI business model with sufficient earning logic is not enough to make an OI initiative successful. The old phrase ���if we build it, they will come��� does not apply here. The investment on a web-based OI-platform is a waste of money if motivation factors are not understood. To make any OI strategy operational, it needs to stress the principles of user motivation ��� why would users come and use the OI-platform and why would they contribute. Thus, strategy needs to stress how users are motivated and enabled to contribute to achieve critical mass and to make the OI successful. Motivating and supporting collaboration 101
The individual and group level aspects of OI have remained an unknown, less-researched territory (West and Gallagher, 2006). Similarly, creativity research has inadequately described the collective processes and motivational factors in the group level (Kurtzberg and Amabile, 2001 Hargadon and Bechky, 2006). There are also many literature examples of toolkits for user innovation (von Hippel, 2005) and for mass customisation (Franke and Piller, 2003). However, toolkits for community collaboration are seldom covered in the literature (Reichwald and Piller, 2006). Therefore, our study focusing on the utilisation and practical knowledge on enhancing collaboration in OI context is a new and essential opening towards holistic understanding and dissemination of OI. Aims In this paper, we concentrate on the customer-side of OI and focus on collaboration in OI communities to be able to gain a holistic view of the phenomenon. We focus on the following two research problems: RQ1. How can users be motivated to collaborate in OI communities? RQ2. What kind of tools and methods can support collaboration in OI communities? We see that user motivation is one of the key issues with aim to understand and develop voluntary OI communities. Therefore, the RQ1 focuses on the motivation factors for participating in a collective-innovation processes in OI communities. The aim to provide a more practical perspective as well, so, the RQ2 concerns the tools and the methods that can support the collaboration. In addition, our purpose is to provide practical information for companies how to build a more motivating environment for collective-innovation process by supporting collaboration with appropriate tools and practices. As a result, we present a preliminary framework of motivation factors for collaboration in OI communities and provide guidelines and methods for companies aiming to develop tools that support collective-innovation processes in their communities. Structure of the paper The rest of the paper is structured as follows: we start with the discussion of companies��� transformation through customisation strategies to OI. Thereafter, we take a view on collective creativity, adding the perspective of how to motivate customers to participate. This is followed by a section describing the qualitative research method and the case descriptions, after which we discuss our results. Finally, we draw conclusions and give some suggestions about the tools and the methods that may enhance motivation to participate in online communities for OI. Transformation from individual customisation to OI Transformation from market orientation to customer-centric strategies Companies have awakened to the growing heterogeneity of customer needs and preferences and have started to shift their offerings from commodities to customisable products (Hart, 1995). As a solution, companies have utilised mass customisation, where customers are offered a predefined set of alternative features that they can decide on inside a fixed solution space (Piller, 2004). With mass customisation, companies are able to get more insights on customers��� needs and preferences since customization requires interaction. However, this EJIM 13,1 102