Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 Applying the Outside-In Process Open Innovation Model in the Mature Furniture Sector; the GSF Research Project Karagouni Glykeria1, Trigkas Marios2 and Papadopoulos Ioannis1 The present paper refers to the investigation of implementing an open innovation model in the Greek furniture sector, exploring the interactions between Higher Educational Institute, firm and consumers, for the development and successful launching of an innovative Green and Smart Furniture (GSF) product. The model is based on the outside-in process; it aims in the enrichment of the company's own knowledge base through the integration of suppliers, customers, and external knowledge sourcing and regarding the development and successful commercialization of a green and smart furniture product. We argue that this process can increase a company's innovativeness; hence we propose that the specific open innovation framework can be promoted by relevant initiatives for Greek furniture enterprises at least. The results apply mainly to the integration of inter-sectoral knowledge bases, the formulation of the respective business strategy, innovation and NPD development. The open innovation concept, placed at the core of a business strategy, can allow all parts to develop shared knowledge which can accelerate access to market and commercialization; customers and related industries can play a key role in the development of R&D activities and innovation in general. Field of Research: Management 1. Introduction In the beginning of the 20th century, industries presented a tendency towards the introduction of scientific achievements into markets in the form of products and services. The majority belonged to high-tech sectors such as biotechnology and pharmaceutics while the care industry and machinery could claim a significant share of this trend. However, most of these achievements were based on knowledge produced inside the firms’ boundaries. “Beside the fact that science was entering into a flourishing era, its commercial use was still far away from been obvious” (Chesbrough, 2003). This was translated in the existence of strong R&D departments and the number of patents produced per year. The significant changes in macro and micro economic level, the accelerating international competition and internationalization opportunities, the focus on the importance of the cocreation of new knowledge and its recognition as a business’ strategic resource have led towards different approaches of the development of innovation. Enterprises are now seeking knowledge in customers, suppliers, Universities, public and private organizations and institutes, even in start – ups (Chesbrough, 2003), signaling a transition from the traditional closed, to an open innovation model. During the last years a growing number of sectors are moving gradually towards this open model. Furthermore, this model appears to suit perfectly to mature low-tech sectors such as furniture and textiles industry. Low-tech firms do not have a tradition on R&D activities, since, according to literature, they are supplier dominated, adopting innovation developed mainly by machine manufacturers. 1 Mrs Glykeria Karagouni MSc and Dr Ioannis Papadopoulos, Technological Educational Institute of Thessaly, Department of Wood & Furniture Design and Technology, V. Griva 11, Karditsa, Greece, 43100 [email protected] [email protected] 2 Dr Marios Trigkas, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – Department of Forestry & Natural Environment, Lab. of Forest Economics, Finikas Thessaloniki, building B, 55134 [email protected] Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 However, an emergent stream of literature indicates that low-tech industries are becoming more intensive as creators and users of knowledge than usually acknowledged, with cognitively deep and complex knowledge bases. Therefore, besides such as machine manufacturers and suppliers, external knowledge sources such as firm of other sectors, organizations, Universities and research institutes can play a decisive role in their innovation and overall business strategies (Heidenreich, 2009; Santamaria et al., 2009). Furthermore, empirical literature confirms the complementarity with high-tech industries, as initially pointed by Heidenreich (2009); in many cases low-tech firms open new market opportunities for hightech industries. Yet, besides the arising interest in low-tech innovativeness, theoretically driven and empirically-based research exploring factors, processes, mechanisms, constraints or factors affecting university-low tech industry innovation projects remains relatively scarce. The GSF research project explored the potential of applying such a model in the mature furniture industry within the rather introversive and strongly conservative Greek furniture sector. The project attempted the practical application of open-innovation and R&D-based theory by developing collaborative innovation from A to Z providing a complete “best practice” of the Outside-In Process Open innovation Model. The target was to challenge at least the open-minded furniture entrepreneurs to reconsider their strategy and engage new approaches to NPD, product life-cycle and potential markets. This appears to be an imperative for the Greek furniture industry’s enterprises particularly after the recent economic crisis which plagues the Greek entrepreneurial world in general and the furniture manufacturers more specifically. The core of the projected was based in the intersection of ecology, ICT and the tacit and existing needs of Greek micro, small and medium furniture manufacturers to develop capabilities for new competitive advantages. Selecting the elderly as the main target group, research focused on the development and market introduction of technologically supported furniture eco-solution to foster the targeted consumers’ self-determined living in their homes. The research was undertaken by the Laboratory of Applied Marketing, Management and Economic of the Wood and Furniture Design and Technology Department of TEI of Thessaly Greece (WFDT from now on). The research team included an ICT company, a furniture small company, two other Universities and a number of external collaborators. The research project has been co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund - ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program "Education and Lifelong Learning" of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) - Research Funding Program “ARCHIMEDES III Investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund”. 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Open innovation within the context of innovation systems Scientific research approaches the meaning of innovation in a systematic way instead of the classical linear model. Enterprises do not innovate by their own, but there is a continuous interaction with the individual members of the system; these interactions shape the firm’s innovative activity (Feinson, 2002; Adam, 2014). Four major types of innovation systems’ approach can be found in the literature: 1) National Innovation Systems (NIS), 2) Regional Innovation Systems (RIS), 3) Sectoral Innovation Systems (SIS) and 4) Technological Systems (TS) (Rodríguez and Crescenzi,2008; Leydesdorff, 2013; Tödtling and Trippl, 2013; Lundquist and Trippl, 2013). The key to success of such a system is the way its members interact under Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 the context of a network (Castellacci and Natera, 2013).The demand for innovation from the side of consumers and final recipients and users in general plays a central role in the approach of innovation systems leading to the paradigm of an open innovation model (Chiaroni et al., 2011). The term open innovation was introduced by Chesbrough (2003) and implies, that external partners perform part of the innovation processes. According to Chesbrough et. al, (2006: p.1), open innovation is: “… the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively.” By using a firm's process perspective, research discusses the new developments in open innovation and illustrate their relevance in practice through illustrative figures. Three core processes can be differentiated in open innovation (Gassman and Enkel, 2004; Grönlund, et al., 2010): 1) The outside-in process: enriching the company's own knowledge base through the integration of suppliers, customers, and external knowledge sourcing. This process can increase a company's innovativeness (Laursen and Salter, 2006). The outside-in process reflects companies' experience that the locus of knowledge creation does not necessarily equal the locus of innovation. Within this process, we can see an increasing awareness of the importance of innovation networks (Dittrich and Duysters, 2007; Enkel, 2010; Chesbrough, 2013), new forms of customer integration, such as crowdsourcing (Howe, 2008), mass customization, and customer community integration (Piller and Fredberg, 2009), as well as the use of innovation intermediaries (Lakhani, 2008; Piller, 2009). 2) The inside-out process: The external exploitation of ideas in different markets, by promoting ideas to the external environment. The process involves the innovation movement from the company to the outer world, but not though traditional innovation channels and new product development procedures (NPD), but through alternative channels, often not connected with a company’s core competences. 3) The coupled process: Linking outside-in and inside-out processes by working in alliances with complementary companies during which interactive and feedback relationships are crucial for success. (Gassmann and Enkel, 2004; Dodgson, Gann & Salter, 2006). This type of process didn’t gain popularity during further research of open innovation. 2.2 Open innovation and business sectors Research in open innovation was conducted from different industries’ perspectives ranging from ICT industry (West & Gallagher, 2006; Bigliardi, Dormio & Galati, 2012), consumer electronics (Christensen et al., 2005; Park, Amano & Moon, 2012), food (Sarkar and Costa, 2008) and financial services (Fasnacht, 2009), to automotive (Ili et al., 2010) and biotechnology (Fetterhoff and Voelkel, 2006; Bianchi et al., 2011). According to relevant literature, open innovation is more common in industries with shorter product life cycles; i.e. high-tech industries. However, open innovation can be found in low-tech industries as well (Spithoven, Knockaert and Clarysse, 2008). Other studies confirmed that there are minor differences in the adoption rate between industries (e.g., Chesbrough and Crowther, 2006; Lichtenthaler, 2008; Keupp and Gassmann, 2010; Lichtenthaler and Ernst, 2009; Van de Vrande et al., 2009). Practice shows the existence of open innovation in traditionally closed industries (Ticher, 2007), although some authors insist that certain industries are not suitable for open innovation, due to a high level of secrecy and security reasons (Gassmann, 2006). Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 In general, low-tech firms are quite reluctant to co-operations especially with universities and public research organizations (e.g. Seggara-Blasco, 2010). However, low-tech firms of an innovative culture seem to be more willing to join common innovative efforts with scientific organizations, technology liaison offices, political institutions, associations, chambers of commerce and industry or also regionally focused support programmes. Focusing in the Greek furniture sector, previous research of Trigkas et al. (2012) and Karagouni et al. (2010) revealed the need for more attention in the area of new products’ development and methods of products’ distribution. The greater percentage of sales comes from products which are technologically improved and embody new methods of production and distribution. However, the sector’s enterprises are not capable of proceeding by themselves alone towards radical innovations yet. Furthermore, it seems that furniture manufacturers have not managed to develop trust or they are not well informed regarding several organizations, governmental or private for acquisition and transfer of innovation, technology and know-how. There are significant improvement margins regarding the development and application of R&D mainly through the acquisition of external R&D. This means that specific efforts should be made regarding the enhancement of an open innovation model to be adopted by the sector’s enterprises. The use of IT could also play a fundamental role towards this direction (Trigkas et al., 2014). 3. Methodology applied Research is based on the GSF new product development process. This paper approaches the way the participating Greek furniture firm collaborated with the Department of Wood & Furniture Design and Technology (Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of ThessalyGreece). It is still an ongoing project; however at this point of progress, most results have already come up. The model for the firm is this of the outside-in process; knowledge comes from several sources with the TEI Department to play the core role, high-tech companies to develop technical solutions and potential customers to provide knowledge in order to fulfill existing and tacit needs and desires. • • • • • • The steps followed during this open innovation process are: New product development planning prepared by the TEI team after discussions with the firm’s CEO and his design department. A thorough study of all relevant provisions that are in effect internationally, in order that the final result is compatible with the current legislation and specification regarding ergonomics, ecological and safety issues. Market research including identification and demographics of target market, international trends and tendencies and face to face questionnaires consumers. Collection, selection and elaboration of information and knowledge on materials, functions and outputs; all parties had to present their strong and weak points in order to be find out solutions to emerging problems. The designers of the Department and of the firm collaborated in order to produce a series of drawings, ideas and concepts with their distinctive design signature. Core limitations were the ecological and smart criteria and their successful combination. The firm could afterwards use all inserted knowledge for further NPD. Creation of functional prototypes and pilot production in the firm’s plant. This was the main challenge for the firm; to manage the production of the GSF product in co-operation mainly with the ICT Company. Registration of the final drawings. Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 • • The TEI team in co-operation with another Business School Department and the Marketing team of the firm is now preparing an effective marketing plan for the promotion of the GSF product in the Greek and international market and the relevant marketing strategy. Branding by design would be developed by the firm in order to be in line with its overall image. However the Universities’ teams would support it further. The core target of the GSF regarding the interaction with the furniture industry is the enhancement of the current in-house NPD and innovation activities and operation. It therefore encourages the use of modern technologies not only in the manufacturing and material aspects but further in NPD through the collaboration with high-tech industries and the support of University parts. So far, Greek furniture firms are rather reluctant to engage the open innovation model being unaware of its potential and afraid of extending to unknown areas such as the engagement of ICT. Figure 1: The GSF open innovation process •Technology •Strategy •Accelaretion of internal innovation •Knowledge •Technologies •Solutions •Values •Commercialazation •Use of innovation FIRMS CONSUMERS OTHER INDUSTRIES UNIVERSITIES •Knowledge •Resources 4. RESULTS The results of the GSF project regarding open innovation and more precisely the outside-in process can be integrated into the following key processes in the furniture sector: Integration of the knowledge base in the sector: Findings highlight several implications for creating effective shared knowledge creation environments in the mature furniture sector. The GSF project is trying to create such spaces of shared knowledge, as precursors to process innovation implementation. This is achieved through the acquisition of know-how on the ecological furniture by all the involved researchers, institutes and professionals, the dissemination of know-how in the furniture enterprises as well as among the consumers. This includes further the recording and elaboration of the opinion of the industry and consumers on the ecological furniture, the improvement of the designing skills and capabilities of the designers and technicians, development of guidelines for the production of GSF products and finally the dissemination of results in various activities of the furniture firm. The creation of a Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 database of all relative legislation on ecological furniture along with the establishment of criteria that will condition the ecological furniture, constitute some extra ways of knowledge creation around green and smart furniture products. Formulation of business strategy: it supports the creation of a Product Mission Statement as well as the determination and quantification of the required inflows for the production of ecological furniture. Innovation-based strategy is fundamental for the development of “green” business plans for the production of eco-logical furniture incorporating the ICT technology, the configuration of the relevant operational strategy, the determination of a relevant brand strategy enhancing the advantages of the eco-logical furniture and at a final stage the support of the competitiveness and the investments of the furniture enterprise. Technology-based innovation culture in an extremely conservative and mature industry: The project materializes the phrase of Theodor Von Karman, (1881-1963) “…science investigates something that exists, technology creates this that does not exist yet.”. The acceleration of firms’ innovative activities and the establishment of an innovation culture are core elements of the project. These act as a catalyst for the deployment of specific innovation activities such as, the creation of patented or registered drawings, which is rather unusual for furniture manufacturers in Greece. The physical output of the GSF project regards the first European ecological and at the same time intelligent piece of furniture together with a fully integrated innovative process; i.e. functional prototypes, manufacturing feasibility study, the reformation of their productive process, a marketing plan and a promotion plan for the Greek and international market. Besides the involvement of high technology and know-how in the furniture sector, the GSF project highlights further the protection of the environment and the forestall wealth as well as the health and safety of both consumers and the firm’s employees. At this phase the firm is introduced in a second-order level of co-operation which appears to be more intangible than in the NPD phase; the preparation of the marketing plans for the international market regarding an innovative product. This is a new area under discussion within the framework of the open innovation model; co-operation cannot rest only in R&D but extends in several other areas, since furniture firms in Greece are lagging behind even in issues regarding management and marketing. The successful commercialization of the GSF products constitutes an important aim at this stage of the specific open innovation process’ i.e. the development of alternative promotion channels for the commercialization of the GSF product. This process will be further developed under the co-operation of the University with the relevant department of the firm. The role of consumers: The GSF project applied the relevant theory of involving consumers mainly in the early stages of NPD (Gruner and Homburg 2000; Grewal, Lilien, and Mallapragada, 2006). Consumers were involved at the ideation (i.e., idea generation) stage at a high degree. Their opinions, suggestions and desires were exploited in the product concept development stage. Once the core idea prepared, selected consumers were involved in the concept development stage by sharing the concept with them and actively seeking their input. This was quite novel for the furniture manufacturer; executives admitted the value of this sort of inexpensive input and the reduction of their anxiety on the acceptance of such "strange" furniture products by the elderly who are highly conservative. In accordance with relevant literature, major benefits were the achievement of high differentiation, the increased effectiveness of the products and its services which applied to specific requests and the higher perceived quality and novelty. Actually, it appeared that customers’ involvement supported the creation of a pool with a significant number of fresh ideas, expectations and Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 challenges. Furthermore, there were certain issues that were early located due to the consumers' observations and comments, saving time and money from unnecessary work. A second but not of less importance series of benefits regarded the commercialization and post launch at least at regional level. Due to the involvement of a significant number of consumers and the publicity of the research project there was great consumer enthusiasm and world-of-mouth effects. Moreover, the customers involved declare ready to use the furniture piece besides the need to "be educated" in the functions of the smart product. 5. CONCLUSIONS The present paper discussed the implementation of an open innovation model in the Greek furniture sector, exploring the interactions between Higher Educational Institute, firm and consumers, for the development and successful launching of an innovative Green and Smart Furniture (GSF) product. The model was based on the outside-in process; it aimed in the enrichment of the company's own knowledge base through the integration of suppliers, customers, and external knowledge sourcing and regarding the development and successful commercialization of a green and smart furniture product. The firm's own knowledge and technology served as a basis to enhance the innovative potential of it which was further supported by the company's strategy. However, the firm's team needed to admit its internal weaknesses regarding innovation and knowledge and be prepared to co-create it; this was not that easy at it appears. It implied the full commitment to openness, trust and sharing, the development of relevant mechanisms and the ability for technology and knowledge transfer. However, according to the executives, the GSF project besides the physical output enacted such mechanisms which they intend to turn to routines. More precisely: universities can add mainly to novel knowledge but they further provide other resources such as a more organized process to develop R&D based innovation; in parallel they may benefit from the industrial experience and apply their findings in multiple ways advancing knowledge. other industries can use mature firms as vehicles for their technologies and innovations consumers can be co-creators regarding ideas, values and expectations and at the same time facilitation commercialization. Traditional firms such as the ones of the furniture sector may use the outside – in process of an open innovation model to create paths to innovative niche markets, particularly attractive for modern consumers. Eco-innovation in combination to high -technology and knowledge inflows can be one way of the challenge. This process can increase at least a furniture company's innovativeness; hence we could further propose that the specific open innovation framework can be promoted by relevant initiatives for Greek furniture enterprises at least. The open innovation concept, placed at the core of a business strategy, can allow all parts to develop shared knowledge which can accelerate access to market and commercialization. Acknowledgments This research has been co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund - ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program "Education and Lifelong Learning" Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) - Research Funding Program: ARCHIMEDES III. Investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund REFERENCES Adam, F. (2014) Introduction. In Measuring National Innovation Performance, Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Bianchi, M., Cavaliere, A., Chiaroni, D., Frattini, F. and Chiesa, V. (2011) ‘Organisational modes for Open Innovation in the bio-pharmaceutical industry: An exploratory analysis’ Technovation, vol. 31, no 1, pp. 22-33. Bigliardi, B., Dormio, A. I., Galati, F. (2012) ‘The adoption of open innovation within the telecommunication industry’ European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 27-54. Castellacci, F. and Natera, M. (2013) ‘The dynamics of national innovation systems: A panel cointegration analysis of the coevolution between innovative capability and absorptive capacity’ Research Policy, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 579-594. Chesbrough, H. (2003) ‘The era of open innovation’, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol.44, no.3, pp.35-41. Chesbrough, H. (2013) Open business models: How to thrive in the new innovation landscape, Harvard Business Press. Chesbrough, H., Vanhaverbeke, W. and West, J. (2006) Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Chesbrough, H. and Crowther, K. (2006) ‘Beyond high-tech: early adopters of Open Innovation in other industries’ R&D Management, vol.36, no. 3, pp. 229-236. Chiaroni, D., Chiesa, V. and Frattini, F. (2011) ‘The Open Innovation Journey: How firms dynamically implement the emerging innovation management paradigm’ Technovation, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 34-43. Christensen, F., Olesen, H. and Kjaer, S., (2005) ‘The industrial dynamics of open innovation—evidence from the transformation of consumer electronics’, Research Policy, vol.34, pp. 1533-1549. Cimoli, M. (2013) Developing Innovation Systems: Mexico in a global context, Routledge. Dittrich, K. and Duysters, G. (2007) ‘Networking as a means to strategy change: the case of open innovation in mobile telephony’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, vol.24, no. 6, pp. 510–521. Enkel, E. (2010) ‘Attributes required for profiting from open innovation in networks’, International Journal of Technology Management,vol.52, no.3-4, pp. 344-371. Fasnacht, D. (2009) Open Innovation in the Financial Services, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg. Feinson, S. (2002) National innovation systems overview and country cases, working paper, Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, Columbia University Washington, DC, and School of Public Policy, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA. Fetterhoff, J. andVoelkel, D. (2006) ‘Managing open innovation in biotechnology’ Research– Technology Management, vol.49, no 3, pp. 14-18. Gassmann, O. (2006) ‘Opening up the innovation process: towards an agenda’, R&D Management, vol.36, no. 3, pp. 223-228. Gassmann, O. and Enkel, E. (2004) ‘Towards a theory of open innovation: three core process archetypes’,Proceedings of The R&D Management Conference, Lisbon, Portugal. Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 Gassmann, O., Enkel, E. andChesbrough, H. (2010) ‘The future of open innovation’, R&D Management, vol.40, no.3, pp. 213-221. Grewal, Rajdeep, Gary Lilien, and Girish Mallapragada (2006), ‘‘Location, Location, Location: How Network Embeddedness Affects Project Success in Open source Systems,’’ Management Science, 52 (7), 1043-1056. Grönlund, J., Sjödin, R. and Frishammar, J. (2010) ‘Open Innovation and the Stage-Gate Process: A revised model for new product development’ California management review, vol.52, pp. 106-131. Gruner, Kjell E. and Christian Homburg (2000), ‘‘Does Customer Interaction Enhance New Product Success?’’ Journal of Business Research, 49 (1), 1-14. Heidenreich, M. (2009). Innovation patterns and location of European low-and mediumtechnology industries. Research Policy, 38(3), 483-494 Ili, S., Albers, A.and Miller, S. (2010) ‘Open innovation in the automotive industry’, R&D Management, vol.40, no. 3, pp. 246-255. Karagouni, G., Papadopoulos, I. and Trigkas, M.(2010) ‘The innovativeness of Thessalian wood and furniture SMEs: towards an understanding of internal and external drivers’, MIBES transactions International Journal, vol.4, no. 1. pp 31-48. Keupp, M. and Gassmann, O. (2009) ‘Determinants and archetype users of open innovation’, R&D Management, vol.39, no. 4, pp. 331-341. Komninos, N., Kyrgiafani, L. and Sefertzi, H. (2001)Technologies of Developing Innovations in Regions and Production Clusters, Gutenberg Publications, Athens. Lakhani, R. (2008) InnoCentive.com (A), Harvard Business School Case, No. 608–170. Laursen, K. and Salter, A. (2006) ‘Open for innovation: the role of openness in explaining innovation performance among UK manufacturing firms’, Strategic Management Journal, vol.27, no.2, pp.131–150. Leydesdorff, L. (2013) Triple Helix of university-industry-government relations, Springer New York, pp. 1844-1851. Lichtenthaler, U. (2008) ‘Open innovation in practice: an analysis of strategic approaches to technology transactions’, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 148-157. Lichtenthaler, U. and Ernst, H. (2009) ‘Opening up the innovation process: the role of technology aggressiveness’, R&D Management, vol.39, no. 1, pp. 38-54. Park, Y., W., Amano, T. and Moon, G. (2012) ‘Benchmarking open and cluster innovation: case of Korea, Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 4/5, pp. 517-531. Piller, F. (2009) ‘The future of open innovation’,Proceedings of The R&D Management Conference, Vienna, Austria, June 21–24. Piller, F. and Fredberg, T. (2009) The paradox of strong and weak ties, Working Paper RWTH Aachen University and Chalmers University, Aachen and Gothenburg. Santamaría, L., Nieto, M. J., & Barge-Gil, A. (2009). Beyond formal R&D: Taking advantage of other sources of innovation in low-and medium-technology industries. Research Policy, 38(3), 507-517. Segarra-Blasco, A. (2010). Innovation and productivity in manufacturing and service firms in Catalonia: a regional approach. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 19(3), 233258. Sarkar, S. and Costa, A., (2008) ‘Dynamics of open innovation in the food industry’, Trends in Food Science and Technology', vol.19, pp. 574-580. Spithoven, A., Knockaert, M. andClarysse, B. (2008) ‘Building Absorptive Capacity to Organise Inbound Open Innovation in Low Tech Industries’, Proceedings of the XIX ISPIM Conference, Tours, France - 15-18 June. Proceedings of 7th Annual American Business Research Conference 23 - 24 July 2015, Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, New York, USA, ISBN: 978-1-922069-79-5 Trigkas, M., Papadopoulos, I., Karageorgos, A., Rapti, E., and Sideras, A., (2014) ‘Value Creation Based On It Marketing. An Exploratory Study for Developing a Strategic Partnership in the Greek Wood & Furniture Sectors’. International Journal of Technology Marketing (in press). Trigkas, M., Papadopoulos, I. and Karagouni, G, (2012). ‘Economic efficiency of wood and furniture innovation system’, European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 150 – 176. van der Meer, H. (2007) ‘Open Innovation – The Dutch Treat: Challenges in Thinking in Business Models’, Creativity And Innovation Management, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 192-202. West, J. and Gallagher, S. (2006) ‘Challenges of Open Innovation: The Paradox of Firm Investment in Open Source Software’, R&D Management, vol.36, no.3, pp. 319-331.