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More open than open innovation? Rethinking the concept of openness in innovation studies

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  • Julien Pénin

Abstract

This paper re-examines the concept of open innovation developed in organization sciences (Chesbrough, 2003a). We claim that this paradigm, which insists on the distributive nature of innovation among a wide range of heterogeneous actors, does not put enough emphasis on the condition of access to knowledge. Yet, the open dimension of knowledge is a very important feature to sustain a collective mode of innovation. We propose therefore a stronger definition of open innovation, which is based on three constitutive characteristics: (i) Firms voluntarily release knowledge; (ii) Knowledge is open, i.e. is available to all interested parties without discrimination; (iii) dynamic interactions take place among the stakeholders to enrich the open knowledge base. Examples that fit our definition of open innovation are open science, user centered innovation (von Hippel, 2005), free-libre open source software, collective invention (Allen, 1983), etc. We conclude with a discussion on the role of IPR to secure open innovation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2008-18.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2008-18

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Related research

Keywords: open source; free software; intellectual property rights (IPR); open innovation; collective invention.;

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References

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  1. Dalle, Jean-Michel & Jullien, Nicolas, 2003. "'Libre' software: turning fads into institutions?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-11, January.
  2. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
  3. Karim R. Lakhani & Jill A. Panetta, 2007. "The Principles of Distributed Innovation," Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, MIT Press, vol. 2(3), pages 97-112, July.
  4. Markus C. Becker, 2001. "Managing Dispersed Knowledge: Organizational Problems, Managerial Strategies, and Their Effectiveness," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(7), pages 1037-1051, November.
  5. Jaffe, Adam B., 2000. "The U.S. patent system in transition: policy innovation and the innovation process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 531-557, April.
  6. Mazzoleni, Roberto & Nelson, Richard R., 1998. "The benefits and costs of strong patent protection: a contribution to the current debate," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 273-284, July.
  7. O'Mahony, Siobhan, 2003. "Guarding the commons: how community managed software projects protect their work," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1179-1198, July.
  8. Peter B. Meyer, 2003. "Episodes of Collective Invention," Working Papers 368, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  9. Nuvolari, A., 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 04.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
  10. Richard R. Nelson, 2003. "The Market Economy, and the Scientific Commons," LEM Papers Series 2003/24, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  11. Brusoni, Stefano & Prencipe, Andrea, 2001. "Unpacking the Black Box of Modularity: Technologies, Products and Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 179-205, March.
  12. Hicks, Diana, 1995. "Published Papers, Tacit Competencies and Corporate Management of the Public/Private Character of Knowledge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 401-24.
  13. Nuvolari, A., 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Working Papers 04.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
  14. Christine MacLeod & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2006. "Inventive Activities, Patents and Early Industrialization. A Synthesis of Research Issues," DRUID Working Papers 06-28, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  15. Maureen McKelvey, 1998. "Evolutionary innovations: learning, entrepreneurship and the dynamics of the firm," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 157-175.
  16. Pénin, Julien & Wack, Jean-Pierre, 2008. "Research tool patents and free-libre biotechnology: A suggested unified framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1909-1921, December.
  17. Paula E. Stephan, 2008. "Science and the University: Challenges for Future Research," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(2), pages 313-324, June.
  18. Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
  19. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "The open source movement: Key research questions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 819-826, May.
  20. Antoine Bureth & Rachel Levy & Julien Pénin & Sandrine Wolff, 2005. "Strategic Reasons for Patenting: Between Exclusion and Coordination Rationales," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 95(5), pages 19-46, September.
  21. von Hippel, Eric, 1987. "Cooperation between rivals: Informal know-how trading," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 291-302, December.
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