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Book Review: Open Innovation
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Book Review: Open Innovation by Charles Noble, Serdar S. Durmusoglu, and Abbie Griffin

Open Innovation: New Product Development Essentials from the PDMA

Written and reviewed by: Charles Noble, Serdar S. Durmusoglu, and Abbie Griffin

Open Innovation

Product innovation processes have not always been “hard walled.” They haven’t always shunned outside input or jealously guarded against leaks to the outside world. For example, back in 1714, the British government offered a prize to anyone who could develop a practical method to determine ships’ precise longitudes. Over the last several years, we have tried to get back to this model, and poking holes in the walls of innovation processes has gained tremendous momentum, primarily thanks to Henry Chesbrough, who championed the “open innovation” concept and called on firms to intentionally embrace both internal and external parties in their quest to develop successful new products.

While there are several books and emerging research that investigate this notion and provide some guidance to managers, our new book Open Innovation: New Product Development Essentials from the PDMA fills a crucial gap in this space. It provides managers tasked by a well-intentioned CEO to explore this “open innovation thing” with a reference tool that called upon the experience of experts in the field. They will find clear, usable tools and ideas to implement the principles of open innovation in their firms. The authors of our chapters have taken their lumps and also achieved their victories, and they share both in our book. The collection of chapters will inspire managers to “shake up” their own approaches to maximize their firm’s innovation potential.

We start by offering insights into the essential tools for open innovation during the discovery phase, frequently referred to as the fuzzy front end of product innovation. In this section, the authors describe four different stages of “open” foresight workshop designs for collaborative opportunity identification, as well as what steps you can take to open your firm’s foresight processes. In another chapter, our authors introduce tools for patent analysis that you can use for technology mapping and subsequently for identifying the right co-development partner.

To implement open innovation in the development stage, our authors provide insights into incorporating customers online and leveraging the wisdom of a firm’s employees by implementing prediction, preference and idea markets. Other authors show how to employ visual thinking techniques when your employees are partnering with experts outside of your firm, so that they achieve a smooth, tacit knowledge transfer.

A dedicated section on collaborating with universities describes how some schools have developed more than 1,000 concepts in the last decade with partnering firms, both small-sized and large-sized, through cross-disciplinary courses. Readers will learn specific activities and methods to follow in such partnerships.

The book concludes with chapters that portray best practices and advice for open innovation. One section provides details on how a wide variety of stakeholders can be brought together to work swiftly and harmoniously and generate product solutions in really big initiatives. In another chapter, the executives of a small firm reveal the lessons they learned during successful open innovation collaborations over the last couple of decades. Next, our authors prescribe what senior managers and executives should monitor each day based on their firm’s Big Data, to ensure that you are on top of your game in the open innovation practices at your firm. Our book concludes with a chapter that describes the results of a broad survey, identifying best practices associated with open innovation strategies, roles, processes, measures and improvement.

About the Authors

Currently, Serdar S. Durmuşoğlu, Ph.D., is an associate professor of marketing at the University of Dayton. He also serves on the PDMA Academic Committee and has co-chaired the PDMA Research Forum. His research mainly focuses on the effects of information technology on new product development, new product development decision making and the open innovation practices. He has published in the Journal of Product Innovation ManagementIndustrial Marketing Management and R&D Management, among others.

Charles H. Noble, Ph.D., is currently Proffitt’s Professor of Marketing and director of the marketing Ph.D. program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He also serves as the vice chair for PDMA and is a member of the Faculty Research Network of the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University. His research interests focus generally on design and development processes, as applied to both products and services. He has published in many leading journals including the Journal of MarketingStrategic Management JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing ScienceJournal of Product Innovation ManagementSloan Management ReviewIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management and many others.

Abbie Griffin, PDMA’s VP of Publications, holds the Royal L. Garff Endowed Chair in Marketing at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, where she teaches the first year core MBA Marketing Management course and MBA second year marketing electives. Griffin’s research investigates means for measuring and improving the process of new product development. She has also served as the editor of the Journal of Product Innovation Management, the leading academic journal in the areas of product and technology development from 1998 to 2003 and PDMA named her as a Crawford Fellow in 2009. 

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