We would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers, the editorial team, Rajiv Kohli, Mark Taylor, Roberto Vassolo, Chander Velu, Philip Yetton, as well as participants of the 2010 Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Montréal for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. All remaining errors and omissions are of course entirely our own. We are also most grateful to the regional National Health Service (NHS) innovation hub, its staff, as well as all participating respondents for their time and effort invested in this research project. This study was supported in part by the Economic and Social Research Council (PTA-031-2006-00317), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaborations for Applied Health Research and Care based at Cambridge and Peterborough, UK, and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre based at Oxford, UK.
When Does Search Openness Really Matter? A Contingency Study of Health-Care Innovation Projects†
Article first published online: 2 APR 2013
© 2013 Product Development & Management Association
Journal of Product Innovation Management
Volume 30, Issue 4, pages 659–676, July 2013
How to Cite
Salge, T. O., Farchi, T., Barrett, M. I. and Dopson, S. (2013), When Does Search Openness Really Matter? A Contingency Study of Health-Care Innovation Projects. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30: 659–676. doi: 10.1111/jpim.12015
- Issue published online: 12 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 2 APR 2013
- English Economic and Social Research Council. Grant Number: PTA-031–2006-00317
- St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, and the Cambridge European Trust
- National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre
Given the growing popularity of the open innovation model, it is increasingly common to source knowledge for new product ideas from a wide range of actors located outside of organizational boundaries. Such open search strategies, however, might not always be superior to their closed counterparts. Indeed, widening the scope of knowledge sourcing at the ideation stage typically comes at a price given the substantial monetary and nonmonetary costs often incurred in the process of identifying, assimilating, and utilizing external knowledge inputs. Considering both the benefits and costs of search openness, the authors develop a project-level contingency model of open innovation. This model suggests that search openness is curvilinearly (taking an inverted U-shape) related to new product creativity and success. They hence assume that too little as well as too much search openness at the ideation stage will be detrimental to new product outcomes. Moreover, they argue that the effectiveness of open search strategies is contingent upon the new product development (NPD) project type (typological contingency), the NPD project leader (managerial contingency), and the NPD project environment (contextual contingency). To test these propositions empirically, multi-informant data from 62 NPD projects initiated in the English National Health Service (NHS) were collected. The econometric analyses conducted provide considerable support for a curvilinear relationship between search openness and NPD outcomes as well as for the hypothesized contingency effects. More specifically, they reveal that explorative NPD projects have more to gain from search openness at the ideation stage than their exploitative counterparts. Moreover, the project-level payoff from search openness tends to be greater, when the project leader has substantial prior innovation and management experience, and when the immediate work environment actively supports creative endeavors. These findings are valuable for NPD practice, as they demonstrate that effective knowledge sourcing has much to contribute to NPD success. In particular, pursuing an open search strategy might not always be the best choice. Rather, each NPD project is in need of a carefully tailored search strategy, effective leadership, and a supportive climate, if the full value of external knowledge sourcing is to be captured.