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Ralf Wilden is an Associate Professor of Strategy & Innovation at Macquarie University. He advises organizations on service-oriented business models and organizational change to help organizations sense, shape, and seize market opportunities and improve their strategic performance.

Associate Professor of Strategy & Innovation

Ralf Wilden

Ralf Wilden

Macquarie Business School and MGSM

What is ‘Open Innovation’ and what is the value for the involved parties?

Open innovation represents a break with the common approach to innovation, in which all innovation-related activities ought to be con-ducted within the confines of a focal organization. It suggests that organizations benefit from collaborating with external stakeholders such as suppliers and customers, in search for and acquisition of external knowledge to drive innovation and performance. It has to be noted that firms engaging in open innovation may face internal constraints, such as the ‘not-invented-here’ syndrome, lack of management support, and increased complexity. This complexity of collaborative innovation is amplified by greater sophistication of customer requirements, faster development cycles, and advanced technologies; growing the prevalence of intermediaries in service innovation to involve stakeholders within an ecosystem.
Several mechanisms for open innovation exist. The most common approach is crowdsourcing, through which organizations (i.e., seekers) pursue innovations through an “open call” for ideas and a “broadcast search” for solutions to innovation problems using a large group of relevant stakeholders (i.e., solvers). In our benchmarking of successful firms, we have identified four important levers that managers need to orchestrate to drive open innovation: (ii) engage with and understand your stakeholders, (ii) develop necessary organizational capabilities, (iii) develop an organizational culture and leadership that fosters open innovation, and (iv) develop a service-dominant orientation to stimulate open innovation [ ... ]


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