Open Innovation: Fraunhofer Researcher Receives Award for Dissertation

Press Release /

Dr. Sabine Brunswicker has been intrigued by new innovation models and, in particular, the subject of „Open Innovation“ for a long time. Together with the publisher John Wiley & Sons, now the prestigious International Society for Professional Innovation Management, ISPIM, awarded the doctoral dissertation of the engineer with its „Best Dissertation Award“.

picture: Dr. Sabine Brunswicker
Dr. Sabine Brunswicker received the award for the best dissertation at the ISPIM conference in Barcelona, Spain.

How can companies successfully utilize external resources to procure innovation and technology? How is it possible to test and further develop the potential of new ideas, and to commercialize them, when external partners play a role in it? How does one control complementary relationships with innovation partners? And what kinds of risks does Open Innovation represent?

Dr. Sabine Brunswicker has been researching the answers to these questions for some years now at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO. For her dissertation titled „An Empirical Multivariate Examination of the Performance Impact of Open and Collaborative Innovation Strategies" she received the „ISPIM Wiley Innovation Management Dissertation Award" at the „ISPIM Conference" in Barcelona, Spain. In her dissertation she shows, for the first time, the effects that innovation models of varying openness have on the innovation performance of a company.

The most important results: An open strategy can have a positive effect, however, it does also incure some risks if new competencies are not built up at the same time. Companies should take care to sufficiently anchor Open Innovation within their total strategy, to create interfaces to the internal innovation process and to make the success measureable, using controlling processes. What is also very important is how the employees deal with the external partners, in other words, the cultural level. Trust plays a big role, where control and coordination is concerned, particularly for small and medium sized companies. According to Brunswicker, the Open Innovation methods are suitable especially for sectors that have longer innovation cycles and a high level of intellectual property security.

Motivation for Women in Research

While the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will also implement the results of the research internally, the dissertation is also of great importance for the organization in other respects, as is being emphasized by the Fraunhofer president Hans-Jörg Bullinger: „Not only does Sabine Brunswicker provide an important contribution to the innovation management of companies with her dissertation, she also makes it clear that internationally women in research are gaining high acclaim. For this reason, we are particularly happy about this award and hope that success stories such as this one will provide motivation to many young female scientists and engineers and that even more young women will become enthusiastic about this profession."

About her:

Dr. Sabine Brunswicker studied Industrial Engineering with a focus on Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University at Darmstadt. She finished her Master of Commerce at the University of New South Wales, taught at the European School of Business and received her doctorate in 2011 in the area of Innovation Management. Currently, she leads the Open Innovation competence area at the Fraunhofer IAO.

About the award:

The most important factor in receiving an ISPIM Wiley Dissertation Award is the effect the work has on research fields of the future, the methodical quality and the ability to successfully communicate the results of the research in science and in practical life. In 2011, a total of 155 finished dissertations were submitted for the award that is endowed with 1,500 euro and for which the selection is carried out in a neutral, double-blind process. The award is promoted by John Wiley & Sons, a publishing house that is active internationally in science. The ISPIM comprises a network of researchers and representatives from business, consultants and public persons who all have a common interest in Innovation Management. Founded in 1983, it is the oldest, largest and most active innovation society in Europe.