Globalization provides a diverse set of environments for innovation, depending on factors like technology infrastructure, country-specific skills and competitive dynamics. Due to the increasing complexity of technologies, capabilities needed and risks implied, firms increasingly are starting to opt for collaborative innovation. The ease with which R&D teams can now collaborate across geographies and thousand of dispersed volunteers can create fast, fluid and innovative projects that outperform those of the largest and best-financed enterprise alone, is unparalleled.
A new form of marketplace for ideas, innovations, and uniquely qualified minds around the planet are emerging through the Web and are accessible to innovation-hungry companies. Tapscott and Williams (2008) define these marketplaces “Ideagoras”, in significant analogy to the bustling agoras that sprung up in the heart of ancient Athens. Tapping an ideagora is like having an e-bay for innovation that matches buyers and sellers of innovation. Buyers of innovation, namely enterprises, find large and diverse networks of talent that will solve well-defined problems faster and more efficiently than an internal R&D group. Seller of innovations, namely self-organized talented individuals or scientific institutions offer to solve buyers search innovation’s requests, producing a diversity of thought about the problem that can often make the solution rather unique. Tough today’s nascent ideagoras have yet to reach truly eBay-like proportions, we should think of them as the first virtual trading floors in an emerging global idea bazaar . As companies learn how to climb up the open innovation learning curve – peering, sharing, and acting globally – they soon will discover that the real value of an open market for innovation lies in getting access to their unlimited database of heterogeneous contributed ideas and intellectual capital. Potential for growth is out there, but it’s distributed across thousands, perhaps millions, of individuals, organizations and firms. Small and medium-size businesses, universities and even individuals are increasingly sources of innovation and ideagoras help link all these individuals, companies and organizations together by establishing connections and facilitating transactions between buyers and seller of ideas and technology. With the emergence of global ideagoras, firms can choose to acquire outside ideas and technologies instead of developing them in-house, or they can choose to license out their technology patents and intellectual property (IP) instead of commercializing goods. To make the most of this broader strategy, companies will need to nurture collaborative capabilities. Learning how to create, find and reapply great ideas in a global ideagora means turning the R&D unit on the strategy level of the enterprise and some of the big changes include refining its approach to intellectual property, sharpening its external radar and creating an R&D culture that supports the acquisition of external ideas and technologies. The old notion that you have to motivate, develop and retain all of your best people internally would be null, as a massive reservoir of free-agent and self-organized talent resides a few clicks away.
Tapscott and Williams’s research suggests that managers are comfortable with change in the many business dynamics, especially if they are economically more advantageous, but they are not still so comfortable with a change in the R&D business model. They also suggests that companies need to shake off the old approach to innovation and embrace a new paradigm. The reigning orthodoxy in innovation has long been (for most of twentieth century) that it is best to create and commercialize ideas within the confines of closed entities. An estimated 90% of research and development is still performed internally, as companies continue to cling to the “invention model” .
Taking all this considerations into account, a question naturally arises: does the resource-based view (RBV) still stand in the new shaping ecosystem or is timelessly given for granted and/or unquestionable by scholars and practitioners?