EXTERNAL ENGINE CONCEPT FOR MASTERING THE FRONT END OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY PROCESSES

Main Article Content

Klemen Širok
Dr. Borut Likar

Keywords

Front end, innovation, outsourcing, distance learning, CWS

Abstract

Purpose: The paper presents a new concept of somewhat extreme open innovation which focuses on mastering the front end of innovation and technology is based on a collaborative working environment that helps mainly small- and medium-sized enterprises to attain the knowledge, skills, and culture required to master the front end of innovation. The concept is a sort of "umbrella methodology", a well-defined set of procedures which can be simultaneously adapted to the particular innovation challenge, wherein various methods for problem identification and idea creation can be applied, depending on a company’s needs. It is based on the proactive involvement of the company's employees, supported by an appropriate methodology and external experts via a mix of face-to-face and online activities.


Methodology: The methodology is based on a collaborative working system (CWS) and learning management system (LMS) principles that help SMEs attain the knowledge, skills, and culture required to master FEI. We also argue that CWS is an efficient approach for addressing SMEs’ inherent limitations related to managing innovation process in open innovation (OI) modus operandi. Additionally, the concept also tackles configurations of organizational settings related to innovation.


Main Findings: Within the pilot study, positive results were observed regarding the direct innovation result, as well as sustainability. Moreover, it was observed that the presented concept had a positive effect on culture and climate-related to the whole innovation and technology process.


Implications/Applications: eMIPS has some important advantages. The first is a clear focus on the very first phase of the innovation and technology process, the problem/opportunity phase. By using a flexible methodology, various problems can be addressed. Since the eMIPS concept uses a distance working platform, its additional advantage is related to fostering the OI paradigm, CWS, and LMS, which have significant potential for SMEs. The complementary benefits are related to the organizational aspects of FEI and positive effects on innovation culture.

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