Call for Participation in Study on Open Innovation

Researchers from the Maastricht University are currently working on a study aiming at a better understanding of the transition from closed to open innovation. The first round of data collection has generated some interesting results as shown in this article. Read more and take the opportunity to join the study to help create even deeper insights and get a customized report of the comprehensive analysis.

In light of globalization, technological complexity and an increasingly distributed knowledge landscape, many firms are facing difficulties in sustaining and profiting from their internal R&D investments. Therefore, researchers and practitioners more and more agree that companies need to rethink how to generate new products and bring them to the market. One way of rethinking innovation is reflected in the transition from closed to open innovation. In 2003, Chesbrough defined ‘inbound’ open innovation as the leverage of external ideas and knowledge, and ‘outbound’ open innovation as the usage of external paths to market.

Three Core Questions on Open Innovation: A Research Study

Maastricht University has initiated a research study to learn more about the systematic management of the new ‘inbound’ innovation model. We have prepared a survey to collect data from a broad range of firms conducting open innovation practices. This study aims at gaining a better understanding of the transition from closed to open innovation by addressing three core questions. A first round of data collection, including 85 firms, generated some interesting preliminary results.

1. Is Open Innovation a relevant management concept?

Is open innovation a wide-spread phenomenon or is it restricted to a few innovation leaders? In our preliminary results we do observe a transition from internal R&D to open innovation. A large percentage of firms accesses diverse external knowledge sources in order to boost internal innovation activities. The figure below displays different external sources for innovation and shows the percentage of firms that uses these sources extensively.

The chart demonstrates that universities and research institutes represent the most important knowledge source for innovating companies, while start-ups, competitors, and innovation intermediaries are less popular sources.

2. How successful is Open Innovation as an innovation method?

Does it pay off for these firms to systematically tap into these diverse external knowledge sources? To shed light on this question we look at the benefits of open innovation partnerships. How successful is it as an innovation method and how does it affect different innovation outcomes, such as:

  • Technological innovation capabilities
  • Accelerated R&D/innovation
  • NPD effectiveness
  • NPD Efficiencies

So far, our results show that different open innovation strategies have diverse effects on innovation outcomes. Hence, we hope to gain some more differentiated insights into how open innovation influences different key performance and innovation indicators.

3. What kinds of capabilities and processes do firms require to be successful in Open Innovation?

What does it take to achieve excellence in open innovation? How can firms tap into external knowledge and integrate it in their internal innovation processes? Our results show that open innovation forces companies into detailed consideration of underlying capabilities, processes, and tools, such as:

  • Open Innovation Culture: While 62% of the firms report that their management promotes an open innovation culture, only 12% of the firms have implemented standardized reward and incentive systems for using external knowledge in their innovation processes.
  • Knowledge Management Systems and IT Infrastructure: Open innovation requires new systems for the dissemination and allocation of external knowledge within the firm. However, only 27% of the firms have systematically implemented such systems in their knowledge management procedures.
  • Systematic Evaluation Processes: 65% of the firms systematically compare and benchmark external knowledge sourcing with internal sourcing opportunities.
  • Knowledge Gatekeepers: Knowledge gatekeepers are central actors that form an interface between external sources and in-house employees. 64% of the firms have established this role within their organization.

In our study we look at whether these capabilities, processes, and tools (amongst others) help firms to become more successful in open innovation.

Call for participation

In order to improve the validity of our results we are currently looking for additional respondents to participate in our survey. By collecting more data we want to establish more accurate results regarding the open innovation – performance relationship. Furthermore, by investigating a larger set of firms, we can expand our investigation of underlying capabilities, processes, and tools. This investigation will help to sketch best practices for open innovation management. In return for you participation you will receive a customized report of our comprehensive analysis, which can be used to compare your firm’s (open) innovation practices with a benchmark of other firms. This survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Answers are confidential and will be released only in aggregate form, so that individual firms are not identifiable. We would very much appreciate your insights and hope that you will fill out our online survey at your earliest convenience, by clicking on the link below:

Go to Survey!

Password: Innov2011

By Ann-Kristin Ridder MSc, PhD Candidate, & John Hagedoorn, Professor of Strategy and International Business, School of Business and Economics, Organization & Strategy, Maastricht University

About the authors:

Ann-Kristin Ridder is a PhD Candidate in the field of strategy and innovation. She started her academic career in 2005 at Maastricht University. During her ‘International Business’ (BA) studies, she spent an academic semester in Vancouver, Canada. Having developed a lively interest in academic research, particularly on the topic of innovation management, she chose to continue with a master program in ‘Business Research’ at Maastricht University. During her master studies, Ann-Kristin held a research assistant position at the ‘Department of Organization and Strategy’. After graduating (cum laude) in 2010, she began her three-year appointment as a PhD candidate at the same department. Her general research interests lie in the fields of capabilities and processes for managing (open) innovation.

John Hagedoorn is Professor of Strategic Management at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Maastricht University. He has a MA in economic sociology and political economics from the University of Leiden (cum laude) and a PhD in industrial economics from the University of Maastricht. His professional experience ranges from policy research to academic research and from applied economics to management and international business studies. He worked for the Dutch research organisation TNO and is now Professor of Strategic Management at Maastricht University. John Hagedoorn is also a professorial fellow with the Maastricht Economic Research institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) the Centre for Strategy Studies (CSS) of the Department of Management Sciences at Maastricht University.

  • bluenove


    bluenove has just released the first ever study about OPEN INNOVATION IN FRANCE based on a survey with answers from 60 majors French corporations and 114 managers.
    The full study  is available here:
    I hope it helps.
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    Martin Duval
    CEO bluenove
    Twitter: @bluenove

  • Paul Kelly

    You may find the situation with the dissemination of innovations in the NHS in the UK of interest. There is an explicit support of innovation. It is, by your parameters, an “open innovation” system. I think a lot can be learnt from this. However, it would appear to me that the NHS could learn a lot from innovation strategy in the private sector eg. knowledge management systems).
    Paul Kelly

  • Mike James

    Comming from a long line of inventors – all of the ‘frugal’ type – I have found that the medical world to be quite indifferent even to clinical proven therapies in respect of respiratory tract problems, severe alcoholic treatments even though this one is also quick,effective and safe and a truly useful replacements for most antibiotics. All absurdly cheap by comparison so there is no incentive. Doctors have saved my life on two occaisions so I have no axe to grind as such – but I do wish I had a treatment for averace!