Community for innovations

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COMMUNITY FOR INNOVATIONS: Developing an Integrated Concept for Open Innovation
Ulrich Bretschneider Michael Huber Jan Marco Leimeister Helmut Krcmar
Technische Universität München Munich, Germany

Abstract

This paper presents a research project called GENIE. It aims at developing a concept for integrating external stakeholders into a company’s innovation management through a virtualcommunity. This novel instrument for opening up a company’s innovation process to external stakeholders enables collaborative creation and implementation of innovations along the entire innovation process. We focus on software companies and aim at developing and testing this approach in several real-world settings. Open innovation, wisdom of crowds, virtual communities for innovations

Keywords1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Innovation Problem for Software Companies
Innovative strength in Germany compared to other countries can be found in the domain of engineering and industrial commodities. A prominent example is the German automobile industry (Holl et al. 2006). However, this cannot be said of German software producers, who are only average when compared to other countries such as theUnited
Please use the following format when citing this chapter: Bretschneider, U., Huber, M., Leimeister, J. M., and Krcmar, H., 2008, in IFIP International Federation for Information Processing, Volume XXX, Open IT-Based Innovation: Moving Towards Cooperative IT Transfer and Knowledge Diffusion, eds. León, G., Bernardos, A., Casar, J., Kautz, K., and DeGross, J. (Boston: Springer), pp. xx-xx. 12

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States or other leading European countries. A survey conducted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research found that German software producers lack a business culture fostering systematic innovation activities. There is no systematic brainstorming in order to generate ideas for innovations. Idea generation takes place informally withoutsustainability and is often driven by coincidence (Holl et al. 2006, p. 118). Furthermore, the management of innovation by software producers does not use the innovative potential of customers. Customers’ demands, wishes, and requirements often are not used systematically for new product development. Usually, customers are merely treated as recipients of products, not as a source of innovations. As aconsequence, German software producers generate fewer “real” innovations compared to software producers from other countries. Usually, software companies, which are often organized as a one-man as well as one-product business, generate incremental innovations. They “just” improve their existing software products over a long period of time without generating disruptive or radical innovations. However,this situation will endanger the future prospects of software producers in the highly competitive software market.

1.2 Potential of Open Innovation
The chance for software companies to overcome these problems depends on opening up innovation activities to other resources (e.g., employees or other stakeholders), but especially to customers and software users. Customers and other stakeholdersshould take part in innovative value creating activities, making their integration into innovation activities an important competitive strategy, especially for small and medium sized software producers. This approach, often referred to as open innovation (Chesbrough 2003; von Hippel 2005; von Hippel and Katz, 2002), increases in importance in product development. The literature describes theintegration of customers as one of the biggest resources for innovations (Tidd et al. 2005; Wagner and Prasarnphanich 2007). The underlying idea is that the integration of stakeholders will open up the company’s innovation funnel, with more potential perspectives or ideas for creating innovations entering the innovation process. In other words, the amount of innovation potential that can be poured into...
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