As digital technology becomes embedded in the core of customer offerings and business operations, companies find themselves being part of dynamic networks and must develop more open and distributed innovation processes. This is due to the organization of digital innovation depends on some unique properties of digital technology as well as the structure of digital products. However, important and mature industrial domains, such as the automotive sector, find it difficult to fully utilize digital technologies because of a long tradition of closed innovation processes and hierarchical product structures. Therefore, automotive companies try to attract external software start-ups by establishing more open organisational forms, e.g. BMW has established the Start-Up Garage and Mercedes-Benz has launched the Mercedes-Benz Challenge to attract creative programmers. Yet, the understanding for the problems they solve, how the organizational interventions should be designed and their effects are uncertain. Therefore, the goal of this research project is to build knowledge of how the automotive industry can accelerate digital innovation by mindfully select and design appropriate organisational interventions for open digital innovation. In this research in progress paper, we present a two-year action design research project and contribute with initial results on empirical knowledge about the problems for open digital innovation in the automotive industry, a comparison, based on a literature review, between organizational forms for open digital innovation as well as an assessment of the organizational forms’ potential to overcome the problems. The next step is to detail design and implement an organizational intervention to facilitate a first iteration of externally initiated innovation cases.
Stoeckli, Emanuel; Neiditsch, Gerard; Uebernickel, Falk; and Brenner, Walter, "Towards an understanding of how and why Design Science Research scholars evaluate" (2017). ACIS 2017 Proceedings. 16.