Does IP Strategy Have to Cripple Open Innovation? Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

While the protection of intellectual property, or IP, appears to be at odds with a business's quest of open innovation, or OI -the selective use of research carried out elsewhere -companies in the know can align these two strategies. An appropriate IP strategy can in fact be an enabler of OI actions. The truth is, an increasing number of firms, including International Business Machines Corp., are involved in interconnected "ecosystems"-critically dependent on cooperating with other parties to generate inventions and profits. The authors' research has established that the enable function of IP depends on the specific conditions under which businesses engage in OI. Two variants in particular have emerged as crucial determinants: the knowledge distribution among possible collaborators, and the technological environment where the business is active.

The technological surroundings, for example, is calm or disruptive. Concerning the nature of progressive knowledge distribution, outside knowledge can be thought of as residing either with the few (in puddles) or with the many (in oceans). By combining these two dimension sets, and so creating four possible scenarios, we provide a better awareness of a company's most suitable IP/IO strategy. Determined by the type into which the company falls, IP plays another role as an enabler of OI.

PUBLICATION DATE: October 01, 2009 PRODUCT #: SMR334-PDF-ENG

This is just an excerpt. This case is about STRATEGY & EXECUTION

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