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From technological innovation to concrete business models

Published: 5 July 2012

Jeaneth Johansson and Malin Malmström, researchers at LTU, recently presented their paper Exchange or Not to Exchange Information, interorganizational R&D collaboration. It was at the conference Internal Society for Professional Innovation Management in Barcelona on 17-20 June 2012.

– It's a conference on the subject innovation. It's about connecting researchers and practitioners in order to achieve development, says Malin Malmström. From the economic area, we were almost alone. Most were engineers.

In an Information and communication technology (ICT) project like this, the LTU-economists works to maximize the use of technology. This is done by innovative technological ideas which are applied in concrete business models. It's about making the service commercially.

– When we wrote our paper, we followed an EU-funded ICT projects for three years. This included 19 organizations from seven European countries. The participants had high ambitions to link their various research and development environments. The aim was to buy and sell services between each other, says Malin Malmström.

What did you find in your paper?

– We saw that the participants in the ICT project managed very well to develop the technology. However, they failed in the business area. In our paper we discuss an information paradox. When too much business information is given, you have limited opportunities to achieve competitive advantages. When too little business information is given, the organization wins short-term competitive advantage – but it stifles innovation in the long run, says Jeaneth Johansson.

Results and lessons applied

The scientists have brought with them the lessons learned into the next project. Right now they are working on the project TEFIS, Testbed for Future Internet services. The project is linked to the former one and is about the testing of new ideas and information technology solutions during the development phase. This is done by so-called testbeds.

– The technological infrastructure that was built in the first ICT project is used in the TEFIS project. You could say that it is about to take the next step, but our role is much the same. We coach the design of business models, but with greater focus on achieving a commercial market, says Jeaneth Johansson.

– Now the organizations have a clearer picture of how their research and development environments can be linked together. It should be done through a type of brokerage service, says Malin Malmström.