Motivating and supporting collaboration in open innovation

Maria Antikainen (Department of Business and Technology Management, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland,Tampere, Finland)
Marko Mäkipää (Department of Computer Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Mikko Ahonen (Department of Computer Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Publication date: 26 January 2010



The purpose of this paper is to explore collaboration in open innovation (OI) communities. The paper focuses on the following two research problems: how can users be motivated to collaborate in OI communities and what kind of tools and methods can support collaboration in OI communities?


The exploratory case study includes three innovation intermediaries originated in three different countries: France, The Netherlands and Finland. The primary data source consists of the open‐ended questions posted to the maintainers and users by e‐mail. The data include five responses from the maintainers and 12 responses from the users. The secondary source is the internet document review. The classification of the factors in the preliminary framework is derived from reading and rereading the answers of the respondents until the themes started emerging from the data. Thereafter, the data are coded according to the chosen themes.


Results suggest that monetary rewards are not always the best way to motivate contributing users. Instead, contributors appreciate many intangible factors, such as community cooperation, learning new ideas and having entertainment. Contributors also appreciate good support and the right cooperation tools from their service provider.

Research limitations/implications

The data are based on three cases and a limited amount of participants. Therefore, it may be that in gathering empirical data from a larger group of cases, some new factors will be found.

Practical implications

Companies should provide community members with tools that are easy to use, allowing people to express themselves and share their personal details. It seems to be important that maintainers are involved as visible members of a community, which includes telling about themselves in a more detailed way.


This paper is one of the first papers focusing on the collaboration perspective of OI communities.



Antikainen, M., Mäkipää, M. and Ahonen, M. (2010), "Motivating and supporting collaboration in open innovation", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 100-119.

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