Open Innovation

Research Theme: New Modes of Innovation: Managerial and Strategic Business Practice and Open Innovation

Project Leader : Dr Andy Cosh and Joanne Jin Zhang (Research Fellow)

Researchers : Professor Alan Hughes, Professor Ammon Salter, Michael Kitson, Dr Tim Minshall, Oliver Alexy, Gerald Avison (TTP), Chas Sims (TTP)

Project Period : October 2009-October 2012

To see an overview of this project and its objectives please click here.

To view or download the associated research paper for this project please click here


open innovation



Project Progress 

Although the project period ran from April 2012 through until October 2012, the project team members continue to make significant progress in this area of research as well as working on dissemination activites. Following our “open innovation” survey in 2010, which resulted in 1202 completed interviews. Along with many presentations of the survey findings the report was also presented to an OECD NESTI meeting and this may result in collaboration over the creation of an open innovation module that could be bolted on to existing innovation surveys (particularly CIS).

Dissemination: The project team have been actively engaged with academic, policymaker and practitioner communities to discuss and disseminate our research. Several papers are being prepared by members of the team and a number have been published or accepted in Research Policy, Journal of Economic Geography, California Management Review, Academy of Management Review and MIT Sloan Management Review.

A key conference, ‘Open Innovation: New Insights and Evidence’, was held in June 2012 to celebrate a decade since Henry Chesbrough coined the term ‘open innovation’ and a special issue of Research Policy on “Open Innovation” is likely to be published towards the end of 2013.  The Special Issue is being co-edited by Ammon Salter, UK~IRC Research Director; the conference received 78 submissions, with around 40 in the first round for the issue. Several members of the team had papers accepted for the conference and are waiting to see if they will be included in the Special Issue.

UK~IRC research student Nelli Theyel had a paper accepted for the Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management conference last summer and has had another paper in the special issue of the International Small Business Journal on “Open Innovation in SMEs: An International Perspective on a Dynamic Approach to Contemporary Entrepreneurship”. Oliver Alexy and Ammon Salter’s paper with Paola Criscuolo ‘Managing unsolicited ideas for R&D’ was runner-up in The Best-Paper-Award in Innovation Management (sponsored by the European Business School (EBS) and MikroFORUM. It was subsequently published in California Management Review (54 (3): 116-139.). Additionally Oliver Alexy’s co-authored paper ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius? The Two Sides of Community-enabled Bricolage and Their Effect on Entrepreneurial Ventures was nominated for best paper at the Strategic Management Society Conference (nominated as best conference paper) in Prague in October 2012.

In addition to this exploitation of the results of our survey, other case study work has been initiated that will provide rich insights into how open innovation does, and does not, work.

  • Nelli Theyel is presently in California and has carried out a series of interviews with clean energy companies about their open innovation practices following interviews with their British equivalents.
  • Joanne Zhang and Andy Cosh are examining the engagement and IP practices of a technology consultancy company.
  •  Tim Minshall is working on several related case studies. One project focuses on location and small firm innovativeness in East England. Another focuses on how firms change their location to benefit their innovation. Another examines how two public organisations and two private firms help start-ups from product development to commercialisation.
  • Alan Hughes, Andrea Mina and Jocelyn Probert are working on case studies aimed at exploring how the UK can maximise the return to R&D at the sectoral level (Pharma, Construction, Digital IT and Energy).

The team actively disseminated its research findings at leading international conferences, including multiple papers at the annual Academy of Management conference in Boston, the DRUID conference in Copenhagen, Centre for Innovation Research 2012 Conference at the University of Tilberg, Euram conference in Rotterdam, VHB Tagung in Hamburg and the Strategic Management Society conference in Prague.

Going Forward: As previously mentioned the official period for this project has now finished, however, all of the researchers continue to work on and expand on the findings. Ongoing activities include:

  1. Further analysis of created OI dataset and publications.
  2. Completion of case studies with conference papers.
  3. Further engagement with business to disseminate OI findings.
  4. Comparative studies of OI practice and performance across different sectors and countries

The Open Innovation survey dataset is now available on the UK Data Archive at: