2.1. Theoretical Background
Open science as a phenomenon is based on two fundamental mechanisms of science organization: openness and sharing [4
]. New methods of open science used by research groups at universities, such as open data, open access publications, open protocols, open physical laboratories, crowdsourcing methods, or transdisciplinary research platforms, are based on Merton’s principles of science [8
], which include communalism, universalism, disinterestedness, originality, and skepticism (CUDOS norms). However, scientific practices continue to evolve. Today, open science focuses on the pursuit of “transparent and accessible knowledge that is transmitted and developed through collaboration networks” [9
]. New methods of open science and new ways of organizing scientific work using digital platforms, tools, and services for researchers make science more accessible for citizens and the sharing of scientific results and the process of creating knowledge more effective and goal-oriented [11
]. Understanding the impact of these new open scientific practices on the openness of science is the main goal of ensuring the effectiveness of research systems [4
The terms “open innovation” and “closed innovation” were introduced by the American economist Henry Chesbrough [12
]. He found that with an increase in the rate of exchange of information flows, the efficiency of using closed business models decreased. Open innovation focuses on the use of targeted inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal and external innovation [12
]. The phenomenon of open innovation has also influenced how universities and research groups conduct research and contribute to innovation processes [14
]. The core concept of open innovation is based on collaboration with stakeholders such as government, research organizations, customers and consumers, suppliers, and business entities seeking to combine human, financial, and material resources and information and knowledge in order to generate innovation with shared values [15
]. Therefore, it includes different applications like joint R&D, technology transfer, licensing, open source software, and mass sources (crowdsource) that provide an outbound and inbound flow of information [16
]. Innovation is a multi-step process [17
], which includes various practices at different stages [18
]. Over the past 10 years, research and policies in the field of open innovation have been aimed at developing and promoting more input than outgoing methods and processes for creating valuable knowledge [19
]. Digital and communication technologies have created new unexplored opportunities and challenges for innovation management in universities (i.e., reliable data exchange, quality control and reproducibility of research methods and results, management of joint research platforms, funding instruments, relations between universities and industry, strategic alliances, by-products, startups, and consortia). In this regard, figuring out how research groups use the new results of open science to generate the results of open innovation is a priority in developing effective policy and management mechanisms for universities.
The acceleration of the frontier of scientific knowledge has coincided with a renewed interest in open science on the part of politicians. Open science norms promote the rapid dissemination of new knowledge and invite broader partners to participate in the discovery of new knowledge. This deepens knowledge, improves its quality, and promotes its dissemination (which then leads to a new cycle of discovery and dissemination) [16
]. However valuable this broad participation may be, it does not guarantee the subsequent effective commercialization of scientific knowledge. Indeed, the norms of open science can in some way create problems that hinder the commercialization of knowledge.
Open innovation is a concept that can help connect the fruits of open science with the faster transformation and development of its discoveries. Like open science, open innovation involves broad and effective participation and participation in the innovation process [7
The traditional institutions of open science [7
] and the new institutions of open innovation [21
] must be adapted, updated, and combined to effectively realize their scientific and innovative potential in the digital world. Universities are a solid foundation of open scientific and innovative practices [23
] that contribute to innovation processes at the global, regional, national, and local levels.
Moreover, the open innovation ecosystem stimulates interaction and cooperation between universities, business representatives and government, while the high level of interaction leads to accomplishments of innovation activity results [3
The active role of the consumer in the innovation process is emphasized in the modern “four-link helix” model proposed by E. Carayannis and D. Campbell [26
] based on the “triple helix” model developed by H. Etzkowitz and L. Leydesdorff [27
] at the end of the last century. According to the “triple helix” concept, the effectiveness of technological interaction is ensured through close cooperation between government, business, and universities, where all components of the “spiral” perform their functions and complement each other. At the initial stage—the generation of knowledge—there is an interaction between science (universities) and authorities (governing bodies). At the next stage—in the transfer of technologies—science cooperates with business (business circles). Market launch is ensured by joint actions of business and government. The four-link model contains the fourth element of the “helix”-civil society as an active consumer and participant in the innovation process, and this is a key factor in achieving success.
In the countries of the European Union, for the active implementation of the theory of open innovation, so-called living laboratories are widely used, whose activities are aimed at supporting the activity of all participants in the innovation process—from manufacturers to end consumers, with a special emphasis on the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises. On the European Network of Living Laboratories website (ENoLL), they are defined as consumer-oriented open ecosystems based on collaborative creativity that integrates research and innovation processes in real life [28
Finnish researchers of modern innovation research R. Arnkil and co-authors identify four types of models of the “four-link helix”, two of which are defined by them as living laboratories [29
“Triple Helix + Consumers” is the traditional triple helix model, supplemented by a system for collecting and processing information from consumers. It is used in the development of commercial high-tech innovations based on the latest scientific developments. The owner of the innovation process is a firm, group of firms, university, or group of universities. Consumers are used only as a source of information.
“The Firm-Oriented Living Lab” also focuses on commercial high-tech innovation. It can be based both on modern scientific developments and on the adapted use of earlier scientific results and/or knowledge of citizens from the outside. In this case, the owner of the innovation process is a firm or a network group of firms. Consumers in this model act not only as a source of information, but also participate in the process of creating new goods and services together with specially attracted experts.
“Public Sector-Oriented Living Lab” aims to develop community organizations and services. In this case, the owner of the innovation process is a public organization or a group of such organizations. In order for the result of the activity to meet the requirements of customers, it is necessary to regularly receive information from them or have feedback. For this, both traditional methods are used, for example, interviews and dialogues in virtual and real forums, and a specially created environment for citizens-living laboratories. Consumers participate in the development of public services with experts.
“The Citizen-Centered Quadruple Helix” targets the needs of specific populations. People are the driving force behind what types of new products or services are needed and are involved in their development. The owner of the innovation process can be a citizen or a group of citizens—an “initiative group”. The role of firms, authorities, and universities is to support proactively [29
From a philosophy of open innovation to a culture of open innovation, there is a need to overcome the inverted U-shaped curve of the effects of open innovation, which can also be called the paradox of open innovation [30
]. Currently, during the fourth industrial revolution, the dynamics of open innovation is rapidly increasing with the explosion of the paradox of open innovation, which also means the complexity of open innovation [32
]. In this situation, there is a growing need for an understanding of the culture that can control the dynamics of open innovation.
Modern society is used to a culture of cooperation and exchange that is different from the culture of previous generations. Consumers are now more interested in services and experiences than in property. In professional arenas, large communities, often online, have emerged in which people collaborate, often with minimal, and sometimes even no, direct economic value exchange and without traditional hierarchical control [36
]. Culture is perceived as a set of living relationships aimed at achieving a common goal—not what you are, but what you do. While definitions of culture vary, it is clear that culture is inherent in the organization, and its top-down values and general assumptions are evident in the behavioral norms and shared experiences of its members. A firm’s constructive culture directly enhances cooperation within organizational units within firms and coordination between organizational units of firms, which can indirectly improve a firm’s performance [37
]. An innovation culture, that is, a static culture of open innovation, has four dimensions: market orientation, technology orientation, entrepreneurship orientation, and learning orientation [38
] A culture of open innovation is built on values such as curiosity, creativity, flexibility, and diversity, because an open dimension requires values such as openness, trust, responsibility, authenticity, and sustainability [40
Since open innovation drives the dynamics of innovation and the business models of existing firms, an open innovation culture must be dynamically defined. Open innovation dynamics has two layers: open innovation microdynamics, that is, open innovation–complex adaption–evolutionary change (OCE) dynamics; and open innovation macro-dynamics, that is, market open innovation–closed open innovation–social open innovation (MCS) dynamics [33
]. First, entrepreneurship will drive open innovation in the microdynamics of open innovation, because open innovation means a new combination of technology and market across firm boundaries. Entrepreneurs will be interested in moving from a new mix of society and technology to a new mix of technologies and markets across firm boundaries in the macrodynamics of open innovation through new products or services, new markets, new processes, new organizations, or new materials.
Second, the internal entrepreneurship of employees of existing firms will stimulate new innovations in these firms. Thus, internal entrepreneurship will include complex adaptation in the microdynamics of open innovation.
Intrapreneurs will increase closed-open innovation in the macrodynamics of open innovation, that is, new business projects, increased innovation, self-renewal, or proactivity of existing large enterprises, which are mainly based on closed innovation, but pursue strategic goals [42
Third, the organizational entrepreneurship of the firm itself will facilitate evolutionary change. Organizational entrepreneurship, including corporate entrepreneurship, will drive social, open innovation.
Theories of innovation implementation offer a promising approach to the study of organizational factors that affect effective implementation [43
]. In higher education and research institutes, research incentive structures, the search for partners, and the lack of a culture of “openness to business” often impede external collaboration. Thus, while it is in the interest of research organizations and firms to collaborate, they do so less than is necessary. Government intervention helps to overcome such obstacles and reduce costs by subsidizing cooperation. Although the subsidy often only covers the additional costs of the collaboration (and not the actual cost of R&D), this limited financial support can be meaningful for small firms or even for R&D of large companies.
The expected result is triple and complex:
The actual outcome of a R&D cooperation project is a “first order effect”.
A second important effect is a shift in the emphasis of firms and scientists towards more strategic (firms) and more problem-oriented (science) research and development activities.
Most importantly, such interventions develop cooperation skills and facilitate learning how to participate in and maintain collective structures (after the intervention) [44
Such measures usually follow a step-by-step logic: supporting the search for partners and preparing projects, new networks, or joint ventures, project implementation leading to expected results, and subsequent academic, business, and social results. Evaluation of the effectiveness of innovative activities of educational institutions and research centers is carried out using the following indicators:
Grants & financial instruments;
Increased R&D investment leveraged by funded projects;
Newly established or extended networks and centers;
Scientists and engineers working on joint projects;
Increased patents/co-publications in a specific technology field;
Enhanced capacity to manage collaboration projects in both science and industry;
Revenue from contract research or technological services;
Growth in sales and/or exports of innovative products/services arising from collaboration projects [44
2.2. Developing the Interaction Mechanism
It seems to us appropriate to build the interaction of participants in the innovation process on a network basis, as the most promising according to many scientists [20
The offered interaction mechanism, which is based on open innovation platforms, is presented in Figure 1
. University departments still interact within their system but also develop external ties through interaction with the “Living Labs”. There is also a communication channel with the “Network Business Incubator”. The “Business” sector and the “Government”, as active participants in the innovation process, are also present at the “Network Business Incubator”. Thus, on the basis of the “Network Business Incubator”, there is an interaction between all participants in the innovation process: “University”, “Business”, and “Government”. The “Living Lab” and “Network Business Incubator” are located on the online platform of open innovation, which creates a common space for joint development of innovative projects open to participation of all stakeholders. In this way there is a regular exchange of knowledge, ideas, and developments, as well as a request for potential future projects and the formation of research groups. The proposed mechanism deepens knowledge, improves its quality, and promotes its dissemination (which then leads to a new cycle of discovery and dissemination) [18
]. According to the “triple helix” concept, the effectiveness of such technological interaction is ensured by close interaction between the state, business, and universities, where all the components of the “spiral” perform their functions and complement each other [27
]. The implementation of this mechanism using the “Living Lab” and “Network Business Incubator” allows us to realize the model of the “four-link helix”.
It is possible to involve structural divisions (university departments) in network interaction by creating a “Living Lab”, which is an open innovation ecosystem focused on active and permanent cooperation during the implementation of innovative activities due to its openness, exchange of experience, and information resources. Such laboratories are actively distributed in the countries of the European Union, transforming at the same time into various forms. In November 2006, representatives of Finland created the central organization of the living lab system in Europe-ENoLL. Despite the fact that in Russia “living laboratories” are not yet widespread, there is already a positive example of the implementation of innovative activities in this format—“Living Laboratory in Tomsk: a smart city with a comfortable environment” [46
]. Within the framework of this first project session, work was carried out on the development of project proposals by students, university scientists, specialists in this field, and experts, including international ones, from the international bureau.
A living laboratory platform is a tool for conducting and implementing innovative projects by combining the intellectual potential of scientists, students, experts, and specialists in certain fields on one online platform.
Within the framework of the living laboratory, economic departments (educational and research units) can act as a driver for promoting university innovation by performing a number of professional functions: market analysis, foresight forecasting of demand for innovations, the search for new customers, advertising campaigns, etc. All technical information will be available online to project teams of technical departments at any time. At the platform of the living laboratory there will also be an opportunity to leave applications for studies of interest and request the necessary consulting services of economic departments.
Thus, this platform may turn out to be one of the effective mechanisms of universities’ interaction with other participants in the innovation process, contributing to the maximum dissemination of information about existing projects within universities, about promising areas of research for high-tech companies, timely and high-quality implementation of marketing events, and as a result a higher level of commercialization of university innovation.
The creation of a network business incubator can become an effective mechanism for network interaction with external actors of the innovation process.
Through a network business incubator, it is possible to increase the commercialization of developed innovative products and technologies of the university as an independent developer, and in cooperation with business structures through the implementation of network interaction [46
Such business incubators form an effective organizational structure for the interaction of universities (implementing projects based on the intellectual resources of their employees, as well as the results of basic and applied research) with high-tech business structures (ready to get started on projects with a high development potential) thanks to an innovative form of network cooperation.
Virtual business incubators, whose users can resort to consulting and information services without burdening themselves with the cost of renting an office, have recently gained special popularity [47
]. In addition, the advantage of a network business incubator over the traditional one is the ability to increase the number of clients by a factor of ten, due to the absence of any restrictions other than the “bandwidth of consultants” and experts providing support to innovative business structures. Considering that the interaction of consultants, experts, and clients of the network business incubator takes place on the basis of telecommunications, the geographical location of the participants does not matter, and if necessary, the circle of interested parties can be expanded [48
Forming the conditions for interaction, the business incubator is an ecosystem for the implementation of innovative projects, which allows using the potential of all entities of the virtual platform on the basis of integration processes and the integrated use of information technologies [49
]. Thus, by combining conditions and resources, a controlled environment is created that allows business projects at any stage to effectively develop. Due to the virtual nature of the network business incubator, the traditional incubation framework, i.e., creative groups that are not registered as a legal entity, an organization can apply for services (services for the development of statutory documents and registration are also provided by consultants). After business startups structures grow into large developed projects; consulting support for a network business incubator does not end if the company needs it.
Due to the forms and mechanisms of networking between universities and business structures based on information technology, the integration of universities, business structures, including innovative, creative associations, and investors, is being implemented, allowing the effectiveness of joint scientific, educational, and innovative activities to increase [51
]. A developed software environment is a necessary element for the implementation and use of such forms and mechanisms.
Thanks to open innovations, a wider basis for innovative ideas and technologies is provided, they can be used as a strategic tool to study the potential and growth opportunities, and on their basis higher flexibility, self-organization, and sensitivity to market changes are achieved.
Open innovations are formed within the framework of innovation networks on the principles of a three-spiral model of innovative development, combining the efforts and interests of business structures, the state, and universities, using the appropriate institutional conditions and innovative infrastructure, and organizing open innovation interaction to create innovative goods that meet the requirements of the market and are in demand by society.
The “Living Laboratory” is created for the internal cooperation of a university’s educational and research organizational structures, so that they can share ideas, projects, and research results. The transparent interaction allows a synergy effect to be achieved on innovation activity. The network business incubator is formed for the close and permanent connection of the university with business structures and governmental bodies. It facilitates the communication processes and rapid funding search.
The hypothesis of our study is that the online platform of open innovation positively impacts the interaction between innovation system actors—university, business, and government—and increases the effectiveness of innovation activity of a university.