Open Innovation Research: How Robust are the Results?

Today I have had the pleasure to present some of our (Galia, Laursen, Salter and my) recent research at the Open and User Innnovation Conference here in Innsbruck. Here are the slides.

Many fields of strategic management are subject to an important degree of model uncertainty. This is because the true model, and therefore the selection of appropriate explanatory variables, is essentially unknown. Drawing on the literature on the determinants of innovation, and by analyzing innovation survey data for France, Germany and the UK, we conduct a large-scale robustness study using the Bayesian averaging approach of classical estimators. Our method tests a wide range of determinants of innovation suggested in the prior literature, and establishes a robust set of findings on the variables which shape the introduction of new to the firm and new to the world innovations. We provide some implications for innovation research, and explore the potential application of our approach to other domains of research in strategic management.

The discussion at Q&A session after the presentation mainly touched some methodological issues. And most importantly the question arose what this research means for young PhD students. The discussion then touched upon the rise of Bayesian methods in strategic management research and the potential fear younger researchers have towards new (and seemingly more complex) methodologies. My suggestion would be: do not be afraid, read some of the methodological background to the methodologies and do not be afraid to employ the methodologies. Ask for help, turn to the applied econometrician who you have in the department. Just be brave and try out new methods.