Title: Path dependence as a barrier for ‘soft’ and ‘open’ innovation

Authors: Björn Remneland-Wikhamn

Addresses: School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, P.O. Box 610, Gothenburg SE-405 30, Sweden

Abstract: Open innovation is a management approach which has started to gain interest in both industry and academia. It has shown possibilities to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and creativity, and successful cases have been presented as role models to follow. This paper argues that mature firms face inevitable organisational challenges when aiming to implement open innovation due to their path-dependent decisions manifested into structures, processes and culture. The case of the Volvo Group indicates a ‘liability of oldness’ for large, mature corporations with ambitions to move towards ‘openness’. Organisations enacting open innovation need to consider the coupling of new learning processes with an active unlearning of obsolete knowledge, as well as a negotiation on what should be materialised into new structures and which previous structures should be dematerialised.

Keywords: open innovation; path dependence; change management; soft innovation; oldness liability; newness; barriers; academia; efficiency; effectiveness; creativity; role models; mature firms; organisational challenges; innovation implementation; corporate cultures; business practices; Volvo Group; Sweden; automobile industry; large corporations; mature corporations; openness; learning processes; active unlearning; obsolete knowledge; new structures; previous structures; dematerialised structures; materialisation; R&D; research and development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2011.043207

International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2011 Vol.5 No.6, pp.714 - 730

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 20 Oct 2011 *

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