Networking Innovation in the European Car Industry : Does the Open Innovation Model Fit?
The automobile industry is has entered an innovation race. Uncertain technological trends, long development cycles, highly capital intensive product development, saturated markets, and environmental and safety regulations have subjected the sector to major transformations. The technological and organizational innovations related to these transformations necessitate research that can enhance our understanding of the characteristics of the new systems and extrapolate the implications for companies as well as for the wider economy. Is the industry ready to change and accelerate the pace of its innovation and adaptability? Have the traditional supply chains transformed into supply networks and regional automobile ecosystems? The study investigates the applicability of the Open Innovation concept to a mature capital-intensive asset-based industry, which is preparing for a radical technological discontinuity - the European automobile industry - through interviewing purposely selected knowledgeable respondents across seven European countries. The findings contribute to the understanding of the OI concept by identifying key obstacles to the wider adoption of the OI model, and signalling the importance of intermediaries and large incumbents for driving network development and OI practices as well as the need of new competencies to be developed by all players.