This year's ISPIM conference was held in Vienna from June 22 till June 24. Over 200 papers were presented, with tracks focusing on Open Innovation, Service Innovation, Business Model Innovation, Innovation Policy, or Innovation Networks (to name just a few of them).
Here is a short summary of some presentations:
Keynote Prof. Frank Piller
With the first keynote presentation, Professor Frank Piller had the full attention of all 360 ISPIM delegates and all 56 delegates of the R&D management conference. He talked about an early example of open innovation: The GoldCorp corporation. Because of financial problems this gold mining company needed to be 100% sure before starting their mining activities. Hence they opened up all their geological information and data and created a (virtual) gold finding contest. In the end, many people participated (mathematicians, computer software specialists, and many other professions) participated and they identified 100 targets, 50% were new to the company.
As already Joel West pointed out in his presentation at the User and Open Innovation Workshop in Hamburg, Frank Piller focused on the difference of how the term open innovation is defined and used in academia and by practioneers. He distinguishes between Open Innovation (Chesbrough), User Innovation (von Hippel) and Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing in this case is defined as "outsourcing to an undefined mass in form of an open call". Similar to Joel West, he emphasized the need of a new term.
Open Innovation is already adopted in large companies. But these companies are still learning how to adopt it and they are still in a pilot phase. Open Innovation has to become an integrated part of the overall strategy. Otherwise single tools like Idea Competitions will not work.
Furthermore, Piller pointed out the important role of User Manufacturing, which is part of his own core research field: Mass Customization and Configuration Toolkits. He explained how someone could build custom products with 3D data from the Google 3D Warehouse, adapting the data using Google SketchUp and then producing it in the eMachineShop.
Skills for open innovation
Letizia Mortara made a very interesting presentation on "Skills and culture for open innovation". She defines skills as something which is acquirable through education, training or experience. The process of open innovation management can be divided into four major steps: WHAT (does the company want), FIND, GET and MANAGE. For each step in the process she defined a comprehensive set of skills and then aggregated the different skills to four skill sets: Introspective skills (Understand Us), Extrospective skills (Understand Them), Interactive (Communication) and Technical Skills. The major outcome of the project is a toolbox which helps to understand if a company has already the required skills.
Continuing on skills for open innovation, Ina Goller and Carmen Kobe presented their work on "Creativity Trainings for R&D Engineers on a team level". They developed a Team Training Concept and tested it on three groups of students. The project is still in an early phase, as they just have 21 students to test the concept each semester and they are still trying to get empirical significant measures. The presentation was interesting, but I missed a description of the training concept itself.
Consumer Idea Contests are very popular at the moment. There is not one big company not doing it. But with the increasing number of contests, consumers get overloaded with too many contests and requests. There is an imminent danger of losing appeal, especially when the Idea Competitions is not tightly integrated into the overall strategy of the company.
Johann Füller, Professor and CEO of HYVE AG talked about Idea Contests at Swarovski, with really impressive results: 1.790 participants of coming from 72 different countries submitted 3.191 designs (980 freely created, 2.211configured). One of his main points was: "Make your community fit into the network of communities out there." You cannot compete with Facebook or MySpace, so try to create a community which fits in these existing networks.
Prof. Dr. Jan Marco Leimeister also talked about Idea Competitions from an academic point of view. Idea competitions can also be used as a starting point for an online community. He raised the (unanswered) question, what kind of activity is better done by users and which ones are better done my managers (the company)?
Bernhard Doll spoke about real-time strategy development using LEGO blocks to visualize the strategy, as a "shared space". The concept of a shared space isn't really new, we already have different forms of online or offline collaboration tools available. But using LEGO seems to be a creative way to visualize a strategy - although we don't know if this visualization improves something.
David Ruiz de Olano presented innovation drivers in retail banking. Interesting topic, but the results weren't very precise: Defining Technology, Entrepreneurship, Environmental pressure, and Suppliers as innovation drivers is nice, but doesn't add any value to academic discussion.