Identifying Effects of Integrating Academic Makerspaces into Open Innovation Cooperations: A Research Framework

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With the maker movement's rise, infrastructural resources for makers like fablabs, project spaces or fully equipped makerspaces – non-academic and academic – have also been created. Open innovation will play a key role in developed economies over the next decade [1], yet only little research is known dealing with the potential of (academic) makerspaces to support open innovation cooperations between makers, industrial companies, and research institutions. The existing knowledge often refers to specific industries or academic fields, e.g. Zakoth et al. [2] and Ponce et al. [3].
The Institute of Innovation and Industrial Management (IIM) at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) is conducting an open innovation (OI) cooperation between students (=makers in this project), industrial companies, and academic research institutions called Product Innovation (PI / until 2018/2019 called Product Innovation Project) already back since the academic year 2006/2007. Within the last 16 years 30 industrial companies, 2 research institutions, and more than 530 students took part in 69 projects. Since the early beginning, the PI project was always supported with infrastructure as introduced by Herstätter et al. [4]. Referring to Culpepper [5] the different supporting infrastructures can be all classified as project spaces, community spaces, machine shops, or a combination of them [4].
With the preparation and the conduction of an OI cooperation, several barriers occur for the participating stakeholders. Some of them are describing organizational barriers and others are referring to legal problems [6]. In existing literature, a significant number of barriers to open innovation is mentioned, e.g. Chesbrough & Brunswicker [7] or Dziurski and Sopinska [8]. Despite no clear classification in the literature, the barriers can be somehow differentiated into barriers to participating in OI projects, barriers within the conduction of OI projects, and barriers to making use of OI project results.
This research aims to understand the value of the integration of academic makerspaces into OI cooperations. Thus, this research focuses on understanding how academic makerspaces can contribute to reducing OI barriers in different contexts and understanding the required framework for this kind of OI cooperation so that all participating stakeholders can gain valuable benefits from the cooperation results.
Case study research builds the methodical framework for this research study. The research process is based on case study research ref. to Eisenhardt [9]. The research data mainly consists of qualitative data collected via semi-structured interviews with the participating stakeholders. An embedded case study design [10] is used to distinguish between remarkable differences in the data sample of the PI.
Besides a detailed concept description of the research project, this paper also describes the status of ongoing research and some interim results.
Translated title of the contributionIdentifizierung der Auswirkungen der Integration von akademischen Makerspaces in Open Innovation Kooperationen: Ein Forschungsvorgehen
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Event6th International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces: ISAM 2022 - Georgia Instiute of Technology, Atlanta, United States
Duration: 6 Nov 20229 Nov 2022
Conference number: 6


Conference6th International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces
Abbreviated titleISAM 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

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