Open innovation in high value manufacturing

Smith, Marisa and Ates, Aylin and Sminia, Harry and Paton, Steve; (2016) Open innovation in high value manufacturing. In: Innovation Product Development Management Conference. UNSPECIFIED, GBR. ISBN 1998-7374

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The aim of this paper is to examine the concept of open innovation and understand if it occurs and how it occurs within the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) context. There is a key theoretical relevance since open innovation has not been explored from a network based perspective. Similarly, there is a strong practical relevance for this research since policy makers in the EU (especially in the UK) are focusing on strengthening HVM in their economies but the role innovation, and especially open innovation, is not fully understood. The methodology adopts an exploratory case approach within four manufacturing firms that we consider to be operating within a HVM context. Interviews with ten technical managers across the four cases were collected. NVivo analysis and data structuring based on Gioia et al. (2012) form the basis of the data analysis. The findings suggest that many different ‘modes’ and types of innovation take place within the HVM context. Open innovation is witnessed more commonly from an ‘outside in’ perspective i.e. firms draw knowledge or technology from external sources into their internal innovation process. Our findings also suggest that open innovation occurs mainly in closed networks, with other firms within their supply chain. However, our findings also highlight that the maturity of technology and sector ‘norms’ may also have an influence on degree of openness.