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HOI research | Open innovation's potential for science explored

Open Innovation (OI) principles are being applied to enhance scientific research, showing both the potential benefits and limitations. An internationally co-authored essay, published in Innovation: Organization & Management, highlights how open and collaborative approaches could transform scientific practices.

Understanding open innovation in science

Scientific research has traditionally been a somewhat isolated endeavor, with researchers working within well-defined organizational boundaries. However, recent calls have emphasized the need for more open and collaborative approaches. The concept of Open Innovation in Science (OIS) aims to integrate dispersed research efforts, promoting the flow of knowledge across different disciplines and stakeholder groups. This approach is particularly relevant in today's complex research environment, where novel solutions often require collaborative efforts beyond traditional academic silos.

Aiming for transformative scientific practices

The primary aim of the research was to evaluate what OIS can offer to the science of science. The researchers explored how OIS builds upon existing OI research by focusing on boundary-crossing knowledge flows and adapting OI concepts to scientific contexts. They also investigated how these practices could potentially enhance the novelty, efficiency, and impact of scientific research. The study critically examines the conceptual underpinnings of OIS and clarifies its application within the scientific community.

"One challenge we faced in conducting this research was to conduct the study itself as an open innovation team, with more than 30 contributors. It was exciting as an experiment itself," noted Roberto Vertanti from the House of Innovation. "We learned how to collaborate in an undefined space, across knowledge spaces. Unlike the well-defined boundaries in industry, scientific boundaries are often blurry and invisible, making knowledge flows more complex to manage."

Key research findings

  • OIS builds on OI research by adapting its concepts to the science context, focusing on boundary-crossing knowledge flows.
  • The concept of knowledge flows is crucial, with OIS addressing both visible and invisible boundaries between scientific communities.
  • Collaborative efforts and open practices in science can lead to increased novelty, efficiency, and impact, though they are not universally applicable.

Future directions in open science

The research suggests that while OIS can significantly enhance certain aspects of scientific research, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Future studies are needed to further refine OIS practices and evaluate their long-term impact on various scientific disciplines. Additionally, there is a need for mechanisms that support the practical implementation of OIS, such as training programs that enhance scientists' absorptive capacity for external knowledge.

"Our findings highlight the importance of purposeful collaboration in science," a researcher commented. "By understanding and managing the flow of knowledge across boundaries, we can make scientific research more impactful and inclusive." – Roberto Verganti

Meet the researchers

The research was conducted by an international team of over 30 researchers from various institutions worldwide, including Roberto Verganti from the House of Innovation within the Stockholm School of Economics.

House of Innovation Innovation Article Journal Publication Research