Dr. Lorraine Morgan is a Senior Research Fellow with the Evolving Open Software Systems Group (EVOSS) within Lero at NUI Galway. This group works on the development and implementation of open innovation processes within organisations. As organisations face increasing global competition, shorter innovation cycles and dwindling resources, being able to implement open innovation practices and processes is crucial. Those firms that do engage in open innovation leverage external knowledge and ideas to accelerate and exploit innovation more effectively. One way in which organisations connect with external sources of knowledge is by participating in ecosystems with a multitude of external complementors, including customers, universities/research institutes and competitors.
The EVOSS group has conducted much research around such ecosystems and has worked with a number of firms from different sectors including healthcare, electronics, telecommunications etc. The research has found that firms that participate in ecosystems are presented with the opportunity to share costs, leverage different ideas for innovation, enhance their reputation, and attract complements and improvements to their existing products and services. Given the openness of the ecosystem, the power to innovate collectively and the ability to keep costs to a minimum, firms in turn can present a more attractive value proposition to their customers, e.g. lower prices or better solutions.
There are, however, a number of challenges involved in participating in these types of open ecosystems. For example, formal and informal governance processes are important in overseeing network participation and sustainability. The presence of formal safeguards and procedures result in new contributors to the network being less apprehensive about donating knowledge or sharing ideas, and basically alleviates any fears they may have about the possible opportunistic behaviour of others in the network.
Lero researchers at NUI Galway continue to work and advise different organisations on the implementation of open innovation processes. In particular the group are committed to assisting organisations in the development of open business models that consider the importance of complementors in open ecosytems. Moreover, the group received a grant from the Irish Research Council in 2013 to investigate the implementation of crowdsourcing (another form of open innovation) strategies in public funded agencies.