Incentives and performance measures for open innovation practices


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Measuring Business Excellence;18(1)



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Purpose – To guarantee alignment between ongoing activities and organizational goals, innovation management theory emphasizes management control and explicit innovation strategies as prerequisites for innovation performance. However, the theory on open services innovation emphasizes individual autonomy and incentives to foster open innovations. The aim of this paper is to explore this inconsistency. Design/methodology/approach – An explorative research design involving 25 semi-structured interviews in five large scale-intensive service firms is explored. Scale-intensive service firms are strategically sampled for this study since these firms experience tension between open service innovation characteristics and efforts to standardize. Findings – The authors show how individual autonomy facilitates the internal and external networking required in open innovations. However, individualized incentives do not suffice to motivate, mobilize and direct the collaboration and collective effort needed to ensure successful implementation of open innovation processes. Innovation performance is a collective effort, and the findings suggest that firms’ business strategy works as a collective incentive system. Practical implications – The findings imply that firms should not rely on individualized incentives alone to implement open innovation processes successfully. The implementation of more collectively oriented incentives is also necessary to motivate the collective effort required to succeed with open innovation. Originality/value – The study extends previous work and shows how innovation practices are collective efforts that also involve the mobilization of external resources. The incentives observed have an effect on individual behaviour, while performance measures, to a larger degree, cater to the collective level. The authors present three propositions for further empirical investigation




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