The Integration of Independent Inventors in Open Innovation

The Integration of Independent Inventors in Open Innovation

Gavin Smeilus (University of Wolverhampton & Caparo Innovation Centre, UK), Robert Harris (University of Wolverhampton Business School, UK) and Andrew Pollard (University of Wolverhampton & Caparo Innovation Centre, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-165-8.ch008
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Abstract

Whilst current academic literature points to the growing importance of Open Innovation as a means of companies capturing new products from sources other than internal R & D facilities; the integration of independent inventors, a source of innovative new products, within Open Innovation has proven challenging. This chapter presents a series of preliminary Critical Success Factors, driven by current academic literature, which are intended to positively contribute towards independent inventors becoming more successful suppliers of new product ideas to businesses operating an open innovation model; with the intention that adherence to such factors may have a positive influence on the effectiveness and future sustainability of Open Innovation.
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Introduction

The Open Innovation model, at a theoretical level, allows for independent inventors to become suppliers of new product ideas to companies. There is little evidence however, to suggest that the practical integration of independent inventors as suppliers, to businesses operating an Open Innovation mechanism, has been fruitful. Indeed, data from an existing open innovation centre suggests that just 0.7% of new product ideas supplied by independent inventors resulted in the business launching a new product on to the market. This statistic raises concerns as to whether open innovation models operated by companies, which rely on inputs from independent inventors, are sustainable.

The chapter will present a series of preliminary Critical Success Factors, driven by academic literature, intended to positively contribute towards independent inventors becoming more successful suppliers of new product ideas to businesses operating an open innovation model; with the intention that adherence to such factors may have a positive influence on the future sustainability of such operations.

The chapter is structured as follows; firstly a summary of the key principles behind Open Innovation is outlined. Secondly, a discussion suggests what is currently understood about independent inventors and then finally, a series of preliminary critical success factors are proposed, underpinned by current academic literature. The identification of Critical Success Factors will guide independent inventors to operate as successful suppliers of new product ideas to businesses following an Open Innovation model.

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