Open Innovation in the Public Sector: A Research Agenda

January 18, 2017 by Atreyi Kankanhalli, Anneke Zuiderwijk, Giri Kumar Tayi

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New models of innovation are emerging in the marketplace and these are rapidly replacing traditional corporate research labs as the sole source of new ideas, new technologies, and new practices. This trend is being fueled by the ready availability of venture capital, and more importantly, by the ubiquitous presence of information technologies (IT) that are enabling firms to identify and foster new ideas from a myriad of knowledge sources, which could be geographically dispersed. This de-centralized and un-directed form of innovation, referred to as “open innovation”, is gaining traction both in the private and public sectors. In this guest editorial for the Special Issue on Open Innovation in the Public Sector, we first explore the diverse issues that are engendered when implementing open innovation in the public sector, and the IT that can facilitate such initiatives. Next, we highlight the fundamental differences in terms of focus, aim, value, and external stakeholders of open innovation in the private vs. public sectors. Last, we describe an agenda for research on open innovation in the public sector based on trends and gaps in the literature as seen from papers that were submitted to this special issue. Specifically, we suggest several useful directions for future research including conducting domain-specific studies, examining the use of tools beyond social media, and expanding the existing set of research methods and theoretical foundations.