Open innovation and organizational creativity – do they go together? A case study of the creative climate in an open innovation arena

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Quality and operations management (MPQOM), MSc
Aspenberg, Hedvig
Kumlin, Annika
During recent years’ development towards more competitive markets and more complex products, many organizations have started to use open innovation. As creativity can be viewed as a prerequisite for innovation, it is interesting to study how open innovation organization forms affect creativity. The aim with this thesis is to study the relationships between organizational creativity and open innovation. The thesis assesses the creative climate in an open innovation arena called SAFER and compares it to a previous assessment done in 2009 in the same arena. Furthermore the challenges and possibilities associated with creative climate in an open innovation setting are studied. The empirical data contains the results of a Creative Climate Questionnaire (CCQ) performed at SAFER. The questionnaire was followed up with interviews with people from SAFER, which provide a deeper understanding of the motives to the result of the CCQ, as well as other insights about creative climate within an open innovation arena. SAFER is found to have a highly creative climate, although improvements can be made in some aspects. The creative climate appears to have been stable over time. SAFER’s results are compared with reference data from innovative and stagnated organizations, and parts of the results are compared with an innovative technology company. The trust between the different partners at SAFER appears to have increased over time according to the interviewees, but this is not captured in the CCQ. We therefore conclude that studies of creativity within open innovation contexts could benefit from including a dimension corresponding to openness between the partners. It is also concluded that the CCQ is applicable in an open innovation context, but could preferably be complemented with a qualitative study. The thesis finds that an open innovation arena facilitates creative climate by being organized in a cross-functional way. However, the project form that SAFER is organized in also has some disadvantages. There is limited transparency between the different projects, which implies that the learning from different projects is not spread within the organization as much as it could be. SAFER has some problems capturing new ideas, and the fact that almost all SAFER projects are financed by research funding causes long lead times. The analysis shows that the output of an open innovation arena depends on that the partner organizations are devoted to the work, and that there is a flow of knowledge and ideas between the arena and the partners. This implies that the success of open innovation initiatives is dependent on their surrounding organizations and actors. People at SAFER have some identity issues, and the view of SAFER is fragmented. As the purpose of open innovation is to create diverse meetings, we recommend that open innovation arenas not to strive for one singular creative climate. In a future with looser organization forms, it would be interesting with future studies that look more into this.
Innovation och entreprenörskap (nyttiggörande) , Industriell teknik och ekonomi , Innovation & Entrepreneurship , Industrial engineering and economy
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