User-involved service innovation Three participating perspectives on co-creation

University dissertation from Västerås : Mälardalen University

Abstract: The involvement of customers and other stakeholders in the innovation process is proposed to be a key success factor and something that makes companies more competitive. As a consequence, more and more organizations alter their innovation strategy accordingly. In order for a company to open up innovation processes, it is vital to foster a practice where there is openness for external ideas and knowledge. However, when external ideas meet internal innovation practices complex organizational situations appear. Creativity, for example, involves co-dependence of other persons’ strategies and actions. New roles for those involved affect hierarchies and knowledge sharing opportunities.This thesis involves three different perspectives of the same process provides an opportunity to study both individual and structural challenges. This research aims to identify on-going challenges for an organization during the transformational processes that adjustment from a traditional product innovation structure to an open service innovation culture implies. This qualitative case study involves two main cases and three supporting cases and aims to understand how users and other external parties, top management and middle managers experience open innovation processes. The results describe interactions between organizations and users or external stakeholders as well as internal interactions within the organization. Top management were dedicated to the idea of increased openness, but detected structural issues to deal with in order to implement user involved innovation. Among middle management, some individual aspects such as attitudes and relational issues matter, as well as organizational structures and practices. Users had mixed opinions about their participation in the process. Favorable experiences, such as benevolence and deepened relationships, were balanced by un-favorable experiences such as incapability and intrusion. Different dimensions of openness regarding open innovation practice are discussed. In this work a relational focus is emphasized. The findings assist managers in their work to create conditions for open innovation. Managers can benefit from this research by getting a better understanding of how different stakeholders’ experience co-creation of value. This is relevant for innovation managers in the process of redesigning innovation processes to understand different aspects of the interactions involved.