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Unlocking unique value through co-creation in open laboratories

Unlocking unique value through co-creation in open laboratories

De Vita, Katharina ORCID: 0000-0002-5030-5588, Jonas, Julia M., Neely, Andy and Möslein, Kathrin M. (2020) Unlocking unique value through co-creation in open laboratories. In: Fritzsche, Albrecht, Jonas, Julia M., Roth, Angela and Möslein, Kathrin M., (eds.) Innovating in the Open Lab: the new potential for interactive value creation across organizational boundaries. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2020, Berlin; Boston, pp. 81-92. ISBN 978-3110628210 ; 978-3110633665 ; 978-3110629972 ; 3110629976 (doi:

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Companies increasingly reach outside their own organizational boundaries to engage with customers to jointly de-velop new products and services (Brunswicker and Chesbrough, 2018). Companies turn towards customers for inspira-tion to develop innovative products and services that better align with customers’ expectations (Gutu, Manuwa and Mbuya, 2018). Indeed, across all industries, firms agree that involving users in the innovation process – to learn from them and work with them – is vital (Westerlund and Leminen, 2011). By allowing customers to become idea generators and co-creators, it is possible to comprehend their latent or unvoiced needs (Kristensson, Matthing and Johansson, 2008). One prominent approach to foster co-creation with customers, that is becoming increasingly popular, are open laboratories (Fritzsche, 2018). These laboratories are closely related to the notion of open innovation, which purposively makes use of knowledge flows across organizational boundaries (Chesbrough, 2003), and user innovation, which turns the focus to the people who engage in the innovation process (von Hippel, 2009). Indeed, companies increasingly inte-grate their customers in the innovation process by means of open laboratories. For example, companies such as the German software company SAP, establish their own open labs and leverage the power of customer co-creation. In 2007, SAP set-up their own Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) with the mission to provide partners a structured and guided global approach to producing innovative solutions that have a shorter time to market, with reduced risk (Innovation Leader, 2016). Instead, Lego, German Telekom, and other businesses, establish interactive spaces in their store settings to achieve customers engagement in the exploration of new products and services (Roth et al., 2015). While there are significant differences across a range of open laboratories such as FabLabs, TechShops, and Living Labs (Fritzsche, 2018), they can be defined by the physical environment in which peoplecan create, validate or test products, services or processes through the direct or indirect engagement with an organization. Some open laboratories involve facilitators and therefore can be seen as intermediaries (Almirall and Wareham, 2008) supporting the innovation process between companies and co-creators. The expression ‘co-creator’ is used when referring to co-creation with customers and users (Leminen, Nyström and Westerlund, 2015). By offering an environment that closely resembles the context of the prod-uct or service in real-life, open labs can provide as authentic a use situation as possible. Often these labs offer a more reliable market evaluation than test markets and empower users to contribute to the innovation processes (Salter and White, 2013). While companies increasingly utilize open laboratories for innovation purposes (Leminen and Westerlund, 2016), the different types of project objectives, outcomes and the unique benefits associated with such labs have not been extensively discussed thus far. This chapter presents examples of four co-creation projects that have been conduct-ed in an open lab called JOSEPHS® and exemplifies the benefits of such an open approach to innovation.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: living lab, open innovation, cocreation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Systems Management & Strategy
Faculty of Business > Networks and Urban Systems Centre (NUSC)
Faculty of Business > Networks and Urban Systems Centre (NUSC) > Centre for Business Network Analysis (CBNA)
Faculty of Business > Networks and Urban Systems Centre (NUSC) > Connected Cities Research Group
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2022 11:10

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