Our researcher Marcus Holgersson recently co-organized the 7th World Open Innovation Conference together with Henry Chesbrough and many other researchers in the field of open innovation. The conference was supposed to be organized at UC Berkeley, but was moved online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A couple of hundred academics and practitioners met online to discuss academic research and industry challenges. Some of the highlights were the keynotes by Henry Chesbrough, Alexander Osterwalder, and Maryann Feldman. In addition to co-organizing the conference, Marcus Holgersson chaired a session on Open Innovation, Ecosystems, and Secrecy. He also chaired the Academic Award Session.
During the conference Henry Chesbrough launched a special section of California Management Review focused on open innovation, co-edited by Marcel Bogers, Henry Chesbrough, and Marcus Holgersson. For a limited time, this special section and its articles can be accessed freely via links that we have collected here: http://www.ip-research.org/projects/cmr/
Through the past months, a newly formed “Covid-19 IP task force” at the IIPM Lab at the Centre for Technology Management (CTM), University of Cambridge, led by Dr Frank Tietze, has been trying to understand the role of intellectual property (IP) during the Covid-19 pandemic. As Leverhulme Trust funded visiting professor to Cambridge and the IIPM Lab particularly Ove Granstrand has been actively involved.
fighting Covid-19 there are many obvious IP issues related to development of vaccines,
therapeutic drugs, diagnostic tests and protective gear. However, there are
many more subtle IP challenges, such as those related to the various
collaborative and open innovation activities that have been initiated during
recent weeks across various industrial sectors. Various new partnerships have
been established, often in a rush, such as the UK ventilator consortium for
which the UK government recently launched an IP insurance scheme. The turbulent
dynamics currently at play are impacting established industrial structures,
certainly temporary, if not permanently. This industrial restructuring goes
hand in hand with IP related challenges and strategic IP choices. New entrants
venturing into crisis-critical sectors face IP decisions when repurposing
manufacturing capabilities to produce crisis-critical products, for which IP is
often owned by incumbents. Incumbent firms, who suddenly face new entrants in
‘their’ sectors, have to decide how to design IP arrangements with new entrants
to possibly benefit from new entrant’s innovation efforts in a post-pandemic
Initial research activities by the task force have grown into a portfolio of projects including work to identify crisis-critical innovations during pandemics, development of a crisis typology from an innovation and IP perspective, visual mapping of changing industrial innovation ecosystems with its associated IP challenges and a comparative analysis of IP challenges faced by developed and less-developed countries. CTM-IIPM team members have published a number of articles and blog posts, and has been interviewed and quoted by different news outlets. Dr Tietze has been sharing CTM’s Covid-19 related IP research during a recent talk jointly organised by Cambridge Network and the University’s Maxwell Centre. Dr Tietze has also joined the steering committee of the Open Covid Pledge, an international initiative involving colleagues from Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Utah, Creative Commons and DLA Piper to promote various schemes for the free sharing of IP during the ongoing pandemic. The Covid-19 work on IP has also been featured by the Institute for New Economic Thinking at Cambridge.
few key outcomes of the research are available here:
The innovation ecosystem concept has flourished during
the last decade. Go to any conference with a business theme and you will hear presenters
discuss their firms’ ecosystems, and how their businesses are part of these
larger communities which jointly create value for customers. But what does the
innovation ecosystem concept actually mean, and what are the critical
components that need to be considered when building or surviving in an
Apple is one of the most successful ecosystem builders
of all time. Its ecosystem has successfully combined collaboration and
complementarities, creating a superior and seamless customer experience while
simultaneously introducing competition between application providers and their
apps to ensure innovation and price pressure among complements. Apple struck
the right balance between competition and collaboration in different parts of
its ecosystem, and it did it at the right time.
There are much older examples as well. Remember those
old video cassette recorders (VCRs)? The introduction of VCRs is by now a
classic case, and it shows that both collaboration and competition is needed
for the success of an ecosystem. JVC’s VHS standard, which eventually became
dominant, was neither first nor technically superior when it was introduced.
Instead, Sony was the first mover with its Betamax standard. So how could VHS
outcompete Betamax? Part of the explanation lies in the fact that JVC allowed
other firms to relatively cheaply use its standard. While this move meant that
JVC had to compete against its own technology, it also led to a growing flora
of complementary hardware and content and to healthy competition between the
ecosystem members. In other words, JVC allowed competition for its ecosystem to
We can even trace the concept back to its roots in biology and ecology to illustrate the importance of competition. In nature, competition is just as important as collaboration for the health of ecosystems. For example, when wolves were extirpated from Yellowstone National Park in the 1920s, other species such as elk grew rapidly, in turn leading to overgrazing and a negative spiral in the overall health of the ecosystem. The wolves’ competitive role was crucial for the ecosystem’s wellbeing, and since 1995 the wolves are reintroduced in the park. So if you are trying to build an innovation ecosystem, or if you are aiming at entering one, don’t forget to consider the competition within the ecosystem in order to succeed.
On November 8th, Professor Ove Granstrand held a seminar at Lund University School of Economics and Management, hosted by the Business Law centre ACLU, the IP forum FIF and the IP consultancy firm Valea. The seminar covered research from his book Evolving Properties of Intellectual Capitalism. Based on his two investigations, one national about Sweden and one international, about how patents could be better used to promote innovation for better ends, Granstrand outlines policy recommendations for strengthening innovativeness for economic growth and ultimately for social value creation. Furthermore, a discussion was held about the threat from global challenges, such as climate change and financial crises, and the implications for innovation and technology management.