Title: Open innovation and control: a case from Volvo

Authors: Jonas Kuschel, Bjorn Remneland, Magnus Holmqvist Kuschel

Addresses: Department of Applied IT, University of Gothenburg, Forskningsgangen 6, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden. ' School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 610, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. ' Commute Greener!, Volvo Information Technology, Department 9630, NAV4B, SE-405 08 Gothenburg, Sweden

Abstract: The concept of open innovation has gained widespread attention in different research communities. Nevertheless, it is based on a relatively thin theoretical base dominated by aspects of organisational and intellectual property (IP) strategies. Building upon a longitudinal case study, this paper provides an example of open innovation from the Volvo Group. The vehicle manufacturer joined forces for inter-organisational collaboration with a telecommunication operator and a telecommunication infrastructure provider in order to nurture the innovation of vehicle services. Ten years since its formation, this study provides an interpretation in terms of open innovation and illuminates several implications. By focusing the case on IT aspects, we show how the chosen system approach inscribes a high level of control that does not nurture distribution of new vehicle services among other stakeholders. The paper contributes to nuance the understanding of open innovation and in particular demonstrates the role of IT.

Keywords: open innovation; generative technology; vehicle services; case study; Volvo; inter-organisational collaboration; innovation; information technology; telecommunication; vehicle manufacturing; automobile industry; automotive manufacturing; organisational control; IT infrastructure.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2011.042414

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2011 Vol.9 No.2, pp.123 - 139

Published online: 08 Sep 2011 *

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