What is it about?

This paper describes an in depth, three- year study conducted before, throughout and after the experiment with open innovation to study its impact of the R&D professionals and on the innovation process. It sheds light on how organizations and professionals can use crowdsourcing and other open innovation methods to enhance innovation and overcome adoption barriers to change.

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Why is it important?

The key influential finding was that the professional identity of R&D professionals plays a critical role in adopting open innovation and is usually hidden from managerial oversight. This contributes to the streams of literature on innovation processes and professional identity and illuminates the shift in the nature and role of professionalism and expertise in the digital age.


In this study, I found that the R&D professionals who adopted new processes for innovation (in this case, open innovation methods) were those who were able to shift their way of thinking about themselves and skillset from being “problem solvers” to being “solution seekers”. This was important since the new processes led to a scientific breakthrough in a fast and with lower cost than traditional innovation methods. This finding carries managerial and innovation policy implications as the current incentive systems and educational systems emphasize problem solving and not solution seeking. This study has led me to think of how we need to innovate on the innovation process, on HOW we innovate !!

Hila Lifshitz Assaf
New York University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Dismantling Knowledge Boundaries at NASA: The Critical Role of Professional Identity in Open Innovation, Administrative Science Quarterly, December 2017, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0001839217747876.
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