Open source innovation in physical products : advantages and disadvantages, a corporate perspective

Blanc, Mickael Francois Henri (2011) Open source innovation in physical products : advantages and disadvantages, a corporate perspective. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


A better understanding of Open Source Innovation in Physical Product (OSIP) might allow project managers to mitigate risks associated with this innovation model and process, while developing the right strategies to maximise OSIP outputs. In the software industry, firms have been highly successful using Open Source Innovation (OSI) strategies. However, OSI in the physical world has not been studied leading to the research question: What advantages and disadvantages do organisations incur from using OSI in physical products? An exploratory research methodology supported by thirteen semi-structured interviews helped us build a seven-theme framework to categorise advantages and disadvantages elements linked with the use of OSIP. In addition, factors impacting advantage and disadvantage elements for firms using OSIP were identified as: „h Degree of openness in OSIP projects; „h Time of release of OSIP in the public domain; „h Use of Open Source Innovation in Software (OSIS) in conjunction with OSIP; „h Project management elements (Project oversight, scope and modularity); „h Firms. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) values; „h Value of the OSIP project to the community. This thesis makes a contribution to the body of innovation theory by identifying advantages and disadvantages elements of OSIP. Then, from a contingency perspective it identifies factors which enhance or decrease advantages, or mitigate/ or increase disadvantages of OSIP. In the end, the research clarifies the understanding of OSI by clearly setting OSIP apart from OSIS. The main practical contribution of this paper is to provide manager with a framework to better understand OSIP as well as providing a model, which identifies contingency factors increasing advantage and decreasing disadvantage. Overall, the research allows managers to make informed decisions about when they can use OSIP and how they can develop strategies to make OSIP a viable proposition. In addition, this paper demonstrates that advantages identified in OSIS cannot all be transferred to OSIP, thus OSIP decisions should not be based upon OSIS knowledge.

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ID Code: 46952
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Zolin, Roxann & Burgers, Jan
Keywords: innovation, innovation management, open source, open source hardware, open source innovation, open source software, product development, user innovation
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Nov 2011 00:11
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2011 00:11

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