Emerging Trends in open and user innovation – lesson learned

Innovation exists everywhere in current era, in our thoughts, talks and daily routines, driving us to keep up with its pace. Certainly, it has emerged as an imperative for every industrial sector as well motivating them to indulge in open innovation context in order to engage the overall society more actively.

Last decade have witnessed the paradigm shift from traditional business model approaches to business model innovation shift in managing and organizing the innovation process, focusing more users than producers. Intriguingly, the current rise of knowledge economy includes wider spectrum of users, communities and societies to openly innovate and solve the most pressing problems being faced.

Open and user innovation (OUI) covers a comprehensive and inter-disciplinary viewpoint from social entrepreneurs, SMEs, MNEs, household innovation, diffusion, law and policy to public sector and healthcare, proposing both theoretical and empirical views. However, the scholars in this field are concerned about its implications in different fields of life.

Dr. Khuram Shahzad is a postdoctoral researcher within the InnoLab research platform at the University of Vaasa, Finland, working on entrepreneurship ecosystem, digital innovation management, sustainability and smart cities and business model innovation.

For this reason, Open and User Innovation Society is one of the most active bunch of people who take on these challenges of innovation field and share an interest in the open source and user distributed emerging innovation activities. They built a “common intellectual home”, an annual international conference in order to share their learning as well as to benefit from other scholars from all over the world.

This year, 17th international OUI conference (held in Utrecht, Netherlands 8-10.7.2019) covered several emerging open and user innovation issues such as crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, firms’ interaction with OUI, healthcare sustainability and societal challenges, lead users, OUI platforms, collaboration and venturing, institutions, innovation law and policy, open software and hardware, diffusion, and user and social entrepreneurship. The take away of this conference including several implications is described in the following.

Crowds are considered as an important partner of choice and part of innovation toolkit facilitating significant impact on innovation ground. The co-creation in crowds has also spared the interests of collaboration and its outcomes. However, there is still a lack of understanding of its effective use in both literature and practice. This has made crowd living in clouds. Therefore, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding must be considered as significant platforms where several actors interact, requiring more rigorous collaboration activities from interacting actors to make it work effectively. On the other hand, firms’ interaction with open and user innovation has significant potential to enhance their innovation capability and export intensity. Firms actively seek collaboration with wider society including users and involve them into their processes. This market-pull model of innovation offers them outsmart their competitors.

The notion of open and user innovation actively seeks solutions in most sophisticated sector such as healthcare as well which is quite intriguing. Scholars in healthcare sectors are studying the situational and cognitive-emotional factors in user innovation behaviour. Inclusive innovation involving extreme users has been inspiring the innovation process which requires healthcare sector to consider these issues actively. In terms of institutions, innovation law and policy, current debate is heading towards low income group, smart city, user and radical innovation, innovation measurement in all economic sectors and to consider the implication of this for policy influencing the outcomes. Furthermore, university-industry collaboration has gained importance because of the universities’ strength to produce income and contribute to local economic growth and firms’ potential to generate innovative business solutions.

Thus, we see that the world is working hard to define this innovation ecosystem in a more transparent ways labelling with different perspectives – digital innovation ecosystem, hub ecosystems, open innovation ecosystem, platform-based ecosystem etc. As innovation is more than just the application of digital technologies, the entrepreneurial mind-set and innovative ways to conduct business would prevail in future.

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