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Challenges of multi‐actor involvement in the public sector front‐end innovation processes: Constructing an open innovation model for developing well‐being services

Lea Hennala (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti School of Innovation, Lahti, Finland)
Satu Parjanen (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti School of Innovation, Lahti, Finland)
Tuomo Uotila (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti School of Innovation, Lahti, Finland)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 2 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Studies with a user approach in a public service context are still rare, making the contribution of this study worthwhile. This paper aims to present a case of facilitating innovativeness by involving stakeholder groups in the development of service production in the public sector. The case is related to the provision of housing and well‐being services to ageing people. The study proposes focusing on the front‐end stage of an innovation process: the ideation phase in a virtual idea generation environment, in which fruitful and fresh ideas that are based on customers' needs are sought for in order to support the innovation process.

Design/methodology/approach

A constructive research approach is applied in this study. Central theoretical building blocks are provided by the extended SECI model as presented by Uotila, Melkas and Harmaakorpi, Amabile's componential theory of creativity and Burt's and Granovetter's arguments regarding structural holes and weak ties.

Findings

Based on the evaluation, it can be argued that the open innovation model and particularly the inclusion of external information and knowledge from potential service users generated, despite some shortcomings, new insights and added to the value of the development process.

Originality/value

The paper proposes a model that can be utilized in facilitating the novelty value of presented ideas in the front end of the innovation process and also critically discusses the challenges of the applied model, especially from the point of view of the brokering function needed during the process.

Keywords

Citation

Hennala, L., Parjanen, S. and Uotila, T. (2011), "Challenges of multi‐actor involvement in the public sector front‐end innovation processes: Constructing an open innovation model for developing well‐being services", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 364-387. https://doi.org/10.1108/14601061111148843

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited