Open and User Innovation Conference (OUI), Utrecht

Open and User Innovation Conference (OUI), Utrecht

Cross discipline collaboration and innovation was the heartbeat of this annual Utrecht University conference 8-10 July - now in its 17th year – and naturally, IRIS partners and endeavors felt right at home, submitting three papers. The event gathered around 200 researchers from various disciplines such as innovation or strategic management, organization design, marketing, intellectual property rights management, entrepreneurship, and public policy, all exchanging on the latest research findings and plans in the field.

On Tuesday 9 July, Chris Eveleens and Mark Sanders (both from Utrecht University, UU) presented two IRIS papers entitled: “The impact of incubation on start-up performance; Smart city, user and radical innovations” and “A citizen innovation challenge as a way to identify and develop user innovations in low income groups” in a session dedicated to ‘Institutions, Innovation Law and Policy’. Chris Eveleens’ analysis of archival data from two Utrecht incubators showed that incubation is helpful to new ventures and that, if anything; smart city innovations benefit more from incubation than normal ventures. This evidence supports the fact that smart city programs should consider business incubation as a tool to promote the transition.

Mark Sanders presented an ongoing project in the IRIS project in Utrecht to elicit suggestions and ideas to collect and further develop user innovations from Kanaleneiland, the low-income demonstration district for the IRIS-project in lighthouse city Utrecht. In the discussion that followed his presentation some valuable contacts were established, and Mark received several helpful hints from the audience regarding similar projects in Germany and Sweden.

On Wednesday 10 July Carolin Eckinger (UU) presented her bachelor thesis written within the scope of the IRIS project in the ‘User and social entrepreneurship’ track. The research presented addressed the link between user innovation and business incubators and how incubators can be a possible tool for their success. The audience consisted of about 15-20 people, including professor Erich von Hippel (Harvard), founding father of the field of user innovation research. Carolin presented a new index built to identify user innovations in a dataset of start-ups and then presented preliminary results showing business incubation benefits user and non-user innovations alike, but a selection bias against user innovations in incubation programs is likely. The index proposed was well received.

Overall, the presentations allowed the IRIS team to pitch research conducted and provided an opportunity to highlight the importance of user innovations as well as the IRIS project itself. The feedback received was positive since other researchers were working on topic related research or valued the importance of the topic introduced.

Further discussions & contact

Mark Sanders

25 Jul 2019