Sunday, August 8, 2010

The geography of open innovation: Do what where?

Simple question: Does anyone know of research that links the implementation of open innovation with the decision on where to locate business operations?

To give this question some context, three research domains are related to this question (though there are of course many more).
  1. Cluster theory: Regional clusters are believed to provide a fertile environment to support innovation. A huge amount has been written by economic geographers on categorising clusters, analysing how they form and evolve, identifying different policy measures that can be used to stimulate cluster development (addressing perceived market 'failures'), the role of inter-firm networks within clusters, etc. A good summary of work in these areas can be found in the 'Handbook of Research on Innovation and Clusters' edited by Charlie Karlsson.
  2. Globalisation of innovation: There's plenty of research looking at the way in which innovation activities - especially those of multinational corporations - are increasingly distributed globally. However, some of this work uses R&D as a proxy for innovation. With the recognition that innovation is much more than just the commercialisation of the outputs of R&D operations, the use of R&D as a proxy for innovation seems to be potentially missing a big part of the picture. There is also plenty of research on the topic of innovation systems at the regional level.
  3. Implementation of open innovation: With the frenzy of interest around open innovation (in all its guises), there is no shortage of how-to guides and useful examples from a wide range of industries and sectors.
However, we haven't yet come across much work that looks at the practicalities of implementing open innovation in a particular location. Specifically, we are looking for research which links the decision to locate some part of a firm within a particular region with the stated aim of implementing open innovation and the activities a firm needs to undertake at that location to ensure successful implementation of open innovation. So, if anyone knows of research which does make this link, we'd really like to hear from you either via the comment box below or via email to tim.minshall@eng.cam.ac.uk.