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Mikko Ahonen, Katri Lietsala University of Tampere, Hypermedia Laboratory, katri.lietsala@uta.


Managing Service Ideas and Suggestions – Information Systems in Innovation Brokering
Abstract To manage ideas and suggestions efficiently is an essential skill for firms that aim at new or better services. A new organization type called broker is emerging and these brokers utilize information technology to facilitate the innovation management for their clients. Within Open Innovation paradigm brokers act like intermediaries. The focus in this paper is on information systems referred as social media, social software or Web 2.0 which include features that could be very beneficial in binding customers as co-creators or co-innovators. After showing connections of Open Innovation, social media and collective creativity, we evaluate three Web 2.0 services that promote idea and suggestion composing. The cases are InnoCentive, Ideawicket and The evaluation is focused on the brokering capabilities of these services. The article ends with discussion about crowdsourcing and possibilities of open source approaches. Key words Open innovation, service innovation, social media, online community, social software, collaboration, information system, broker

Acknowledgements We hereby thank researcher Esa Sirkkunen (University of Tampere) and researcher Noora Hintikka (Technical University of Tampere) for valuable comments.

sales... e. 2007) . educators. and comment in the corporate blogs. firms need tools to manage the stream of feedback and ideas from several sources. When gathering of ideas in a closed. customers fill in the online forms and enquiries. research and development (R&D) activity can utilize knowledge and design skills of customers as well. In general. and as a result they do not have the necessary expertise in-house. When Kelly and Storey (2000) inspected leading UK service firms. including the services of firms. in-house environment is not sufficient. 2001). 51. governments and state. for evaluation (Majaro. on a form. In addition to the messages customers send as emails to the firms. They also have their personal blogs for presenting their thoughts and evaluations of the surrounding world. organizations utilize suggestion management systems and idea competitions to foster innovation. they noticed: “Service firms remain steadfast in their view that ideas can be generated as and when required.g. 1983) and to motivate users to participate in the innovation process (Fairbank and Williams. To establish a systematic process to capitalize on creativity is essential for enterprises that operate in accelerated business environments (Rozwell et al. and the external data from competitors. Many innovation processes and suggestion management systems are based on presumption that there exists a ready-made idea inside the firm that can be easily submitted. Within new service development (NSD) Kelly and Storey (2000) divided this systematic innovation process to idea generation and idea screening phases. 2002). we explore in this study the ways how modern information systems could enhance service-related ideation and brokering online. For this reason. the tools for developing services should leave room for spontaneity and the option to participate asynchronously (King and Majchrzak. from tracks of orders. legislators. 2003). of which some are published unsolicited and outside of the firm.” (Kelly and Storey. 271-272. 1998). It seems that many service firms are only just beginning to realize the need to be active in NDS. Data is available from various sources.Introduction Traditionally. There is the internal data from customer management systems. Moreover. To take this task over. they do not have formal mechanisms with which to generate new ideas and only 25 per cent of them search for ideas on continual bases. it has been found problematic to evaluate and screen ideas (Amabile.”… “One of the main barriers to innovation in service firms is the lack of expertise within the firm. However. It is now a question of a proper attitude and appropriate tools whether these flows of information can be turned into knowledge worthwhile to the firms developing its service ideas. staff’s ideas etc.

The user-created content in forms of blogs and wikis is an extensive source for ideas. over 80 percent of the targets found with the help of these competitors contained significant amount of gold. and perspectives with each other. What made the results even better was the knowledge the firm gained about different methods one could use for analyzing geological data. brokers. broker organisation can also mediate in peer-to-peer (P2P) or peer to business (P2B) environments. in the innovation process. The in-house geologists had identified only half of the targets Goldcorp received through the contest. has recognized the rise of intermediaries. For example. and who share their content on an everyday basis.put it into a file and share it with the world. 710) Nowadays Goldcorp provides consulting services for other firms how to innovate. but even outside of one’s familiar network. . as Plantenga and Remery (2005) point out. Goldcorp Challenge (Tapscott and Williams 2006. the situation is very different. the developer of Open Innovation paradigm. Social media describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions. one needs to have advanced skills in technology and to have autonomy at work.There might be room for mediating bodies. integrating those users to innovate new services is an opportunity for firms. but advanced skills in technology are not necessary anymore since programmers have done their part developing digital environments. Wenger 1998) through weak ties (Granovetter 1973) from one world to another. groups or organisations that transmit and nurture ideas (Hargadon and Sutton 1997. At the same time we have seen the rise of the social media with its new tools and applications that could help to foster innovation. insights. Social media has made it possible for individuals to participate in online communities and content production in ways that was not possible. 2006). we want to find out whether the before mentioned social software and social media could be a key to manage service ideas and suggestions in innovation brokering. who participate in communities like MySpace. experiences. Terms like social software and Web 2. YouTube.0 have been used synonymously with social media. even ten years ago. (Tapscott and Williams 2006. With all this in mind. may give much greater results than holding back to the internal infrastructure. and. or like Social Media has shown. There is hardly any literature about Open Innovation and Intermediaries utilizing information systems (IS) to broker ideas and suggestions within the innovation process. More than 1000 people from 50 countries answered to the call. Henry Chesbrough (2003. “.. 7-10) has shown opening the field for developers not just outside of one’s firm. 2007). These organizations and their information systems enable exchange of idea requests and proposals. organizations helping other organizations to innovate. in software development and support services. Brokers are individuals. Similarly. (Wikipedia. The Goldcorp Challenge case describes how CEO Rob McEwen launched small Toronto-based gold-mining company to success by opening up all geology data to anyone who was interested analyzing it. Grouper and Flickr. For people that start up their own blogs. This means a growing resource for the companies who know how to manage ideas and suggestions in this kind of innovation environment. say.” he said adapting the idea of openness from Linux The Goldcorp Challenge offered 575000 dollar prize. They need autonomy to do what they prefer. A broker organisation is a body that acts as a mediator between different firms.

Brokering process 1. Knowledge brokering in the innovation process (Hargadon & Sutton. (Hargadon & Sutton. the Internet and online communities provide various data collecting methods including questionnaires. social software and information systems will be illustrated. 2007). It also teaches brokers valuable lessons. We base our article to the earlier studies (Ahonen et al. these gaps exist between industries where there was and was not knowledge about the new emerging technologies. related literature and the results from Tekes funded research project Participatory Economy and Beyond: Developing tools and processes for open and participatory knowledge creation and content production (Parteco. Finally. 2000) . Keep ideas alive To remain useful ideas must be passed around and toyed with. who benefit by transferring resources from groups where they are plentiful to groups where they are dear. From our examples and data we try to identify regular patterns of brokering processes (Hargadon & Sutton. 3. in the discussion part.icio. For innovators. Within this article case-based reasoning is used. keep ideas alive. and observational techniques as well as using experimental methodology (Hewson. Table 1. interviews. even when an idea is a complete flop. Then we will discuss about Open Innovation and collective creativity.From research method perspective. Linkages of social media. Brokers are actors filling these gaps. Imagine new uses for old This is where the innovations arise. 1997. Ideawicket and del. Effective brokers also keep ideas alive by spreading information on who knows what within the organization. They see old ideas as their primary raw material. three short cases will be analysed: InnoCentive. At the end of this article. sometimes in the likeliest places. and. 717) This transferring refers to providing service ideas and explanations from one area (like airport catering) to distinctively different one (like hotel business). the limits of brokering are discussed. Capture good ideas Description Knowledge brokers scavenge constantly for promising ideas. 1997). where old Ideas that have ideas been captured and remembered are plugged into new contexts. 2. 2007).0 services are introduced and utilized as case examples of brokering systems.. Yule. 4. Put promising concepts to Testing shows whether an innovation has commercial the test 1992) suggests that innovators can innovate routinely because they occupy a “structural hole”. imagine new uses for old ideas and put promising concepts to the test. Three Web 2. Next we will take a look at brokers and how services can be innovated with the help of these intermediaries. Brokers and Service innovation Structural holes theory (Burt. Laurent and Vogel 2003). a gap in the flow of information between subgroups in a larger network. Hargadon and Sutton (2000) have defined following four brokering processes: capture good ideas.

. client interfaces and service delivery system. These brokering companies build up a strategy for exploiting the networked nature of the innovation process and new communities around innovative re-combinations (Hargadon & Sutton. It involves processes of translation. Toward this end. Third. brokering provides a participative connection – not because reification is not involved. and their degree of interaction with the client firm. mobilize attention. and to cause learning by introducing into a practice elements of another. and facilitator) of the intermediate service provider. enable coordination. nuance and difficult to verify. carrier. InnoCentive (http://www.innocentive. The job of brokering is is an example of a broker service where this role shifts regularly. 33) When focusing particularly on service innovation. and alignment between perspectives. may vary substantially (den Hertog. Second. Across different circumstances. since these are often magnified in their impact when coming from others personally known. but because what brokers press into service to connect practices is their experience of multi-membership and the possibilities for negotiation inherent in participation. 1997). the precise role (source. 1998. from business-to-business facilitator to public-good source. It requires enough legitimacy to influence the development of a practice. trust--the confidence that others will do the right thing despite a clear balance of incentives to the contrary--emerges. The next table of van der Aa and Eflring (2002) shows how large the innovation field can be in services. coordination. First. 8). 109) This view of Wenger (1998) is mostly focused on individuals and groups acting as brokers. 2000) focus on innovation brokering in companies. 2005. so actors do not believe impersonal sources and instead rely on people they know. These companies need to understand the logic of social networks. if it does. and address conflicting interests. Social networks affects economic outcomes for three main reasons. (Wenger. Much information is subtle. in the context of a social network. Den Hertog (1999) described a four-dimensional model of service innovation and pointed to the significance of non-technological factors in innovation as new service concepts. It also requires the ability to link by facilitating transactions between them. Brokers make new connections across communities of practice.Brokering has also been discussed in the connection to Communities of Practice . social networks affect the flow and the quality of information. Hargadon and Sutton (1997.1999. (Granovetter. social networks are an important source of reward and punishment. Innovation forms in services are multi-faceted. and – if they are good brokers – open new possibilities for meaning.

1996. Is the service firm capable of managing these three challenges cognitively? Earlier studies have shown that collective cognition in organizations has a significant effect on individual cognitive processes (Meindl et al. consciously integrating that exploration with firm capabilities and resources. new combinations of services and the third item. 2.Innovation Form 1. . high reliability organizations increases the efficiency (Weick and Roberts. Open Innovation suggests that valuable ideas can come from inside or outside the company and can go to market from inside or outside the company as well." (Chesbrough. 1993). the item two. Thompson et al. 1999) to explain supraindividual cognitive processes. However. Forms of innovation in services (van der Aa & Elfring 2002) Within this article broker services cover most of those innovation forms mentioned by van der Aa and Elfring (2002). and broadly exploiting those opportunities through multiple channels. New combinations of services 3. Multi-unit organization 2. service parts. recognitions. customer as co-producer. 82) These challenges by West and Gallagher are linked to management of communities. Incorporation (firms need to identify relevant knowledge through scanning. in especially. Motivation (firms must cultivate ways to assure continued supply of relevant external technologies and IP). 2006. The concept of collective mind may explain the reasons why collaborative working. (West and Gallagher. Maximization (including outbound licensing of intellectual property (IP). Open Innovation and collective creativity “The Open Innovation paradigm treats R&D as an open system. Firms practicing open innovation face three inherent management challenges. 2006) West and Gallagher (2006) define Open Innovation as systematically encouraging and exploring a wide range of internal and external sources for innovation opportunities. Technological innovations Description Reproduction of the service management system in a multi-unit organization Creating new combinations of service activities. too. absorption and political willingness to incorporate external innovation) and 3. Customer as co-producer 4. service segments Redefining the co-producing role of the customer Development and implementation of new forms of technology and related reconfigurations of service concepts and processes Table 2. 1. are emphasized. since the focus in this paper is on brokering and social media. patent pooling and even giving away technology to stimulate demand for other products). which are: 1.

2006.. This kind of mutual assistance is lacking from many brokers. Toolkits and information systems for brokering can be seen as devices supporting collective mind and distributed cognition. tends to blur habitual distinctions between production. Help seeking Help giving Reinforcing Reflective reframing Figure 1. comprise a third important aspect of collective creativity. Interaction precipitating moments of collective creativity (Hargadon & Bechky. 495). they are also critical to enabling those moments when collective creativity emerges.. the potential for a creative solution requires the domain-relevant skills of multiple participants". . and a mixture of confidence and humility-help create a highly collaborative culture within knowledge-brokering firms or groups. where the emphasis on novel solutions also requires exploration mindfully (Hargadon and Bechky. (2007). reflective reframing and reinforcing. help-seeking behaviours. reinforcing activities. distribution and consumption (Thrift. and that play a necessary role in enabling moments of collective creativity. 279). The establishment of distributed cognition devices. This suggest that help seeking can be seen as a set of actions that individuals use to induce others to join in efforts to resolve a particular problematic situation. support individuals as they engage in help seeking. The collective creativity view by Hargadon and Bechky (2006) defines also additional characteristics that are required from brokers: "Because collective creativity takes place in moments when any one individual does not hold all of the necessary knowledge to construct a creative solution. The characteristics like curiosity. the concept of collective mind may also help to explain highly creative organizations. (Hargadon and Bechky. 2006). when participants in social interactions make new sense of what they already know. intended to organize real life experiments as preferences. help giving. . like demonstrated by Ahonen et al. help giving. But what are those interaction types that enable collective creativity? Hargadon and Bechky (2006) introduce a model of collective creativity which consists of four types of social interaction: help seeking. 2006. as a result. Hargadon and Beckhy (2006) call reflective reframing the moment. They suggest also the fourth item. The same users can act as designers and consumers of others’ designs. 2006) Furthermore.Furthermore. a habit of reaching out for ideas and help. and reflective reframing and.

peering.” Tapscott and Williams (2006. 3) To keep its members involved. such as the Internet. The content has its own audience as the traditional media (tv. This means there is only little if no moderating for the content from others before publishing. 2002). Farooq. images. Tapscott and Williams (2006) list some of these words while presenting their own concept of wikinomics: “To succeed. Word ‘toolkit’ is sometimes used to describe information systems. The authors of social media enjoy content made by themselves. community needs collective trust. This is more than open source. social networking. text. such as openness. newspapers). In summarum. 167. According to von Hippel (2005) if firms understand the distributed innovation process and users’ roles in it. Information systems and social media When van der Aa and Elfring inspected service innovation. Creative Commons try to help to solve beforehand. sharing and acting globally. so-called crowdsourcing. or other ideas that touch upon the subject. 16) In social media people voluntarily share content (for example videos. (von Hippel. magazines. 2005) emphasize the need to support group creativity instead of individual creativity within Open Innovation. Leaders must think differently about how to compete and be profitable. their conclusion was: We need to deepen our understanding of the potential influence of the new technologies. music) through online platforms and with the help of applications that base on social software. on the forms of organizational innovation (van der Aa & Elfring. This approach involves partitioning product-development and service-development projects into solution information-intensive subtasks and need-information-intensive subtasks. crowd wisdom. and registration as a member is more of a rule than an exception. Carroll and Ganoe. The copying and mash-ups are mainly the ones causing intellectual property rights (IPR) problems. mutual trust to succeed (Gibson and Manuel 2003. These are the challenges. but people themselves are “editors” and “producers” of the content.Collective creativity buzz word differs from author to author. based on new competitive principles. Rather. copied from others and mash-ups that contain a mix of content possibly from several authors. they can change factors affecting lead user innovation and so affect its rate and direction in ways they value. 69-70. Toolkits for user innovation custom design offer one way to do it. and embrace a new art and science of collaboration we call wikinomics. it will not be sufficient to simply intensify existing management strategies. we are talking about deep changes in the structure and modus operandi of corporation and our economy. It is typical that there are several ways for the people to communicate and to interact. recent studies (Hargadon & Bechky 2006. These information systems are described in large in the DSS (Decision Support Systems) literature (Marakas 2003). 9). Information systems (IS) have been traditionally utilized to support decision making and suggestion management in the innovation process. radio. 2005. for instance. . Gibson and Cohen 2003. smart mobs.

social software encompasses one or more (though not necessarily all) of the following elements: • Support for conversational interaction between people or groups. Wikipedia and Flickr have participants worldwide distributing and commenting content. • • (Boyd.Social media applications typically use RSS and ATOM feeds as a way of sharing same content to several web services. Reputation and trust are crucial in online interactions. What make them different is the openness of the forum and the network of people. 2005) Evaluating the cases The next cases (InnoCentive. Ideawicket and del.icio. Wiki technology is also very common as it gives peers option to develop others’ content further. . According to Boyd (2005). That includes real time conversations like instant messaging. Support for social feedback. as demonstrated by the importance placed by sites such as eBay on a seller’s rating and reputation. Many Social Software applications create a digital layout of a person’s social network and facilitate adding new connections. and “slow time” conversations that occur in collaborative virtual are first described and then inspected with brokering processes by Hargadon and Sutton’s (2000) in mind. Services like YouTube. Support for social networks.

The companies – or seekers. For example. posting and service fees on their behalf to InnoCentive. Imagine new uses for old Both the Seeker companies and Solvers come from versatile ideas fields. However. InnoCentive invited other firms which were also interested in ad hoc experts. 2. and will pay access. This allows unexpected viewpoints and solutions to new areas. Lafley set a goal to source 50 percent of their innovations from outside the firm (Tappscott and Williams. 2007. Solvers will submit only ideas that match those proposals. as InnoCentive calls them – pay solvers from $10. confidentially. . Keep ideas alive The service works one-to-one. Under the agreement The Rockefeller Foundation will select non-profit entities and others with charitable intent eligible to use the InnoCentive platform under preferred conditions. From this starting point.) The non-profit Rockefeller Foundation area on InnoCentive's scientific platform will focus on solving the most pressing and complex humanitarian challenges posed by non-profit entities selected by the Foundation. 3. InnoCentive seen through brokering processes by Hargadon and Sutton (2000). InnoCentive Brokering process 1.InnoCentive (http://www. Table 3. Capture good ideas InnoCentive as an example This capturing is limited by seekers and their proposals. Hiring more researchers is no more the answer for the giant. Figure 2. so. as well as challenge awards to those researchers solving the technology problems the non-profits pose.000 to $100. (They also pay InnoCentive a fee to Pharmaceutical maker Lilly launched InnoCentive in 2001 as a way to connect resources outside the firm – people who could help in developing drugs. Put concepts to the test Testing takes place primarily outside the InnoCentive service. this person may be directly contacted after this persons has showed off expertise.innocentive. 4.000 per solution.G. the innovator’s profile is visible in the InnoCentive. 13). Instead CEO A. Procter & Gamble has 7500 researchers. The original idea of the Solver can not be discussed or extended by other Solvers.

Testing takes place primarily outside the Ideawicket service. Table 4. Put promising concepts to Ideawicket service provides certain tools to test the idea during the test the submission state. The site seeks to become a place where innovators and corporations can connect to exchange their innovation requirements. Capture good ideas Ideawicket as an example This capturing is innovator (user) is a company and service from New Delhi. 3. Ideawicket Portal Brokering process 1. 4. . However. InnoCentive inspected through brokering processes by Hargadon and Sutton (2000). Unlike InnoCentive. Ideawicket. Figure 3. 2. Keep ideas alive The innovator can integrate their colleagues and friends to the innovation process.Ideawicket ( promises to seek (pitch) companies who could finance the innovator and further develop the original idea. This may improve the quality of ideas. for Ideawicket staff the evaluation of novelty and usefulness of ideas may prove difficult.ideawicket. Imagine new uses for old The financing companies have an opportunity to combine ideas various ideas and invite multiple innovators to work for them. the innovation process is innovatorled and the Ideawicket. It has launched an ‘Open Innovation Portal’.

In this but it also helps searching partners.nsf/wdocs/lcdogear) Del.icio. a user can see what other ideas members are This last case is purposively different than the earlier service for navigation’s network feature.icio. like many other bookmark collection managers is a tool for organising and maintaining links to web pages online.icio. It is no surprise that Yahoo has bought the service. if it needs an API (Application Programming Interface) allows integrating del.icio. closed system just for its employees. Put promising concepts to The notes-area could be used for collaborative testing of users tag web pages with words which relate somehow in their mind to the linked web page and its content.icio. could be leaked. the to share thoughts and ideas by collaboratively referring to relevant web sites. 11). Within del. Those tags help in search of correct pages later from the personal seen through brokering processes by Hargadon & Sutton (2000).icio. it was meant for collaborative bookmarking. Brokering process 1. Collective tagging can give weak signals which kind of service ideas the present (people) network is working with. This limitation is solved in other services (like DogEar. the test Testing takes place primarily outside the archive. suppliers. The tagging process allows creating connections between different idea seeds. or an open environment for the whole network. it is a strategic question whether the firm wants to do it openly or A service firm could begin using as an example Ideas can be formulated through bookmarking. Imagine new uses for old With http://www. 3. Table 5. (2006) public sharing of bookmarks to intranet resources may be of concern as proprietary information. Ideas can not be explicated within del. They also pick up tags other people have selected for the same item. According to Millen et Tags also filter a network of people who have saved the same web page or who tag with similar words. more (http://del.icio. 2. Figure 4. new ideas and weak signals. one ‘feeds’ potential leads to co-developers to keep them updated with ongoing ideas 4. Capture good ideas del. However.icio. Icons of to advanced collaboration systems. That is both it’s strength and creates an arena for “professionals” to work together with “amateurs” (Tappscott and Williams 2007. managers.icio. After registration users can add special icons to the navigation bar on their web browser (see icons below in the picture) to help them navigate and use Del.del. . del. It is not originally planned for innovation activity. Like we have earlier in this article pointed out.icio.icio. Keep ideas alive Ideas as link archives and tag clouds remain in the system for albeit limited in shareholders etc. including even its competitors.

other organizations. suppliers. For innovation brokering. Some might benefit even from the third sector. from the public sector. Large enterprises provide their dilemmas for Solvers to solve. especially from the competing ones.” ( is responsible for finding financers and co-developers. Our article presents shortly some of the possibilities information systems and social media could offer for innovation brokering (Hargadon & Sutton 1997. They even evaluate “And in the years to come. 18) . First. academy and legislators. Like Tapscott and Williams (2006. taps to open depend on the business and the nature of the firm. However.Conclusions Internet offers a low-cost collaborative infrastructure. After studying the main features and underlying functions of the web services mentioned earlier we conclude that these services offer an inspiring perspective for enhancing innovation. Though the prestige of intermediaries and innovation brokers in general is getting stronger. this new mode of peer production will displace traditional corporation hierarchies as the key engine of wealth creation in the economy. The wide range of tools help both small internal groups and massive communities to communicate their ideas and suggestions in ways no one anticipated earlier. InnoCentive shows a traditional way to collect ideas. Possible streams of ideas and suggestions come from customers.icio. and. the web site provides tools to help one’s information management (organizing and reaching lists of interesting web pages) and then shares the results (addresses of tagged and described web pages) to wider audience with no additional time or energy required from the individual himself/herself. The innovator is in the main role and the Ideawicket. the inclusion of Rockefeller Foundation and their focus on service ideas is useful for smaller firms as well. Wenger 1998).us transforms its users into brokers whose input can be utilized by the community. Del. there are also signals that indicate that some brokers might lose their status unless if they do not fully understand how social networks and social media services operate. firms need a strategy to decide whether the firm itself begins to build an innovation infrastructure and processes or should it contact a brokering company.0 service with extended collaboration features. Ideawicket is a typical Web 2. Service firms should become more aware of social media services and investigate how communities within those services operate. To gain the best results from this phenomenon. 14) predict “Some of these grassroots innovations pose dire threats to existing business models”.

If the firm then decides to take social media tools to manage innovation there are several strategic issues to decide. Fitzgerald (2006) discusses about Open source software (OSS) 2. Open source software projects present a novel and successful alternative to conventional innovation models. When firms look for ways to develop services or processes they are certainly quite used to call help from external consultants. This something that media industry already struggles with since on the web it is not just easy. The original brokering model of Hargadon & Sutton (1997. and how organizations “should” form and operate. 2005). The enterprises wishing to make something out of social software and out of social media have to make sure they are the dynamic core nodes brokering streams – or they have access to cores that have importance to their service business. While the words open and openness are controversial. This OSS 2. ask their customers to give feedback or they listen to their staffs that help them to make and maintain services. but rather fast for anyone to rise up and take the lead of the information network (Bowman and Willis. The evaluation time of three cases was limited and it was based on authors’ observations. 2003. Some of the aspects are very similar to any strategic decision or implementation plan.0 is another direction we need to observe more thoroughly in the future. The motivation to participate those social media services remains limited. . forums.” (Bowman & Willis. It that sense our approach is novel. 2003). our approach has some weaknesses as well.0 and refers to new collaboration and business models between companies and open source communities. like Bowman and Willis (2003) describe the grassroots actors that might be potential collaboration force for media houses. However. This alternative presents interesting puzzles for and challenges to prevailing views regarding how innovations “should” be developed. (von Hippel and von Krogh. “By increasing the number of connections — though weblogs. We admit that this article’s presentation of brokering has limitations. Therefore. The firms need to enhance the strength of their node to successfully benefit over the Open Innovation approach. This is the only way how they can receive voluntary developers innovate as “virtual staff”.Discussion There is hardly any literature about Open Innovation and Intermediaries from the perspective how information systems and social media services are utilized for service innovation. 2000) was based on observations at Ideo Company and how it operates. What if there is no money as an incentive? Like West and Gallagher (2006) state: “motivating individuals to generate and contribute their IP in the absence of financial returns is a significant management challenge for an Open Innovation approach”. XML syndication and collaborative publishing engines — the strength of a media company’s node is enhanced. Perhaps same applies to service firms as well? We predict it does. 212. 56). we intend to continue this evaluation by making a web survey for those intermediary companies and their customers in August 2007. Generalizing this brokering model to service firms poses some risks. so is the word brokering.

To figure out what lies behind feedback collected from customers or suppliers differs from managing open innovation in order to develop services. Or make sure the firm has an efficient and skilled broker to do this for you. Finally. the process is participatory only to the point when research and development department selects some of the materials for further investigation. to utilise? Secondly. Transform the innovation process into a dialogue of the networks where the firm is the node impulses and signals go through. The new understanding of innovation currently shows up as three associated developments: as the mobilization of forethought. Instead of having them as a passive object and firm merely harvesting ideas. 2006) . or do they need more general way to just seek the weak signals continuously? And. Not to mention when the firm should collaborate outside of it’s routines. but to maintain an online community of their own? Perhaps there could be an existing community. (Thrift. thirdly. with what issues firms decide to be open about? Sometimes openness is hard even inside the firm. firms could change their roles into active developers. do firms have the energy. and as the construction of different kinds of apparently more innovative space suffused with information technology. If the firm analyses on its own the ideas and suggestions it received. networks and work environment. time and capabilities to not just to build. as the deepening of the lure of the commodity through the co-creation of commodities with consumers. like Goldcorp had.First. do firms have a specific task to solve. even an external one. the following comment from Nigel Thrift summarizes nicely our findings and provides a path for future research. This makes firm’s customers and suppliers merely a resource.

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