BRINNOVATION - A case study of an innovation contest’s influence on interorganisational innovation network creation

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: Innovation is at the very heart of most organisations’ research and development, with the innovation process starting with creation of innovation opportunities. As brought forth by several previous researchers and authors, creation and selection of such innovation opportunities historically occurs within the boundaries of an organisation. However, a growing number of innovation processes rely on the external world to create opportunities, something commonly referred to as open innovation. Today’s business reality is not based on pure open innovation or internal innovation but instead a combination of the two, and integration of interorganisational stakeholders participating in the creation of innovation. One such perspective is the outside-in perspective of open innovation which aspires to enrich an organisations knowledge base through integration of stakeholders external of an organisation, referred to as innovation networks. The purpose of this study is to investigate how an innovation contest, which gathers several interorganisational stakeholders around one issue, can contribute to creation of interorganisational innovation networks, specifically how a specific case of an innovation contest around fire safety facilitates creation of an interorganisational network for further collaboration between its stakeholders. To achieve this goal, a qualitative research strategy has been deployed including a systematic literature review, three unstructured and eleven semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, and thematic analysis of the findings. Findings from this study suggest that an innovation contest can contribute to creation of interorganisational innovation networks primarily as a uniting factor where ideas can be sourced, developed and ideally moved into product development with support of the network. This uniting factor facilitates network creation through stakeholders being able to get interaction and access points to other stakeholders and contestants in two primary ways. First, an innovation contest can provide new contacts and refreshed contacts to organisations previously known, mainly concentrated to organisations showing high involvement in the innovation contest. Secondly, an innovation contest can reinforce a network as organisations with existing ties are collaborating by participating in this uniting factor. Reinforcement of the network is also achieved through increased density in the innovation network through stakeholders being more interlinked, primarily through decreasing proximity between stakeholders. Lastly, this case study also concludes that innovation contests can be used as a tool to realise open innovation, mainly by initiation the innovation process through idea sourcing and refining.

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