Change processes in open innovation networks – Exploring living labs


Examining change in business networks can illuminate how time, temporality and process unfold and engage different stakeholders in open innovation. Living labs are increasingly popular open innovation networks that provide a fruitful area in which to study change processes and their influencing factors in network dynamics. We adopt a longitudinal process perspective to analyze eight living labs focused on urban development in a Northern European city. Our analysis reveals six pertinent processes: (i) expansion, (ii) reinforcement, (iii) focusing, (iv) unification, (v) termination, and (vi) recurrence. These processes reflect change in networks characterized by diverse actors, the coexistence of individual and shared motives, a high degree of openness, and user involvement. The identified change processes are a result of living labs disclosing their needs, data, and operations to their stakeholders. We propose a theoretical concept, which we describe as “network boosters”, to illustrate the factors that foster change processes. Scholars and practitioners of innovation management can learn from these findings that understanding change in open innovation networks may help to depict and predict short- and long-term relationships, and it may assist them in managing innovation in open environments.

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