Extending private-collective innovation: a case study

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Abstract:

The private-collective innovation model proposes incentives for individuals and firms to privately invest resources to create public goods innovations. Such innovations are characterized by non-rivalry and non-exclusivity in consumption. Examples include open source software, user-generated media products, drug formulas, and sport equipment designs. There is still limited empirical research on private-collective innovation. We present a case study to (1) provide empirical evidence of a case of private-collective innovation, showing specific benefits, and (2) to extend the private-collective innovation model by analyzing the hidden costs for the company involved. We examine the development of the Nokia Internet Tablet, which builds on both proprietary and open source software development, and that involves both Nokia developers and volunteers who are not employed by the company. Seven benefits for Nokia are identified, as are five hidden costs: difficulty to differentiate, guarding business secrets, reducing community entry barriers, giving up control, and organizational inertia. We examine the actions taken by the management to mitigate these costs throughout the development period.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00548.x

Affiliations: ETH Zurich, Department of Management, Technology and Economics, Zurich, Switzerland., Email: sspaeth@ethz.ch

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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