California Management Review
California Management Review is a premier academic management journal published at UC Berkeley
by Krithika Randhawa, Joel West, Katrina Skellern, and Emmanuel Josserand
While open innovation ecosystems allow a firm to harness external sources of value creation, these external ties can also constrain its ability to adapt its innovation strategy to pursue new opportunities. This article looks at how an incumbent firm approached such constraints, and used cognitive artifacts to transform its value chain into a collaborative ecosystem. It examines the case of a 3D printing-enabled shift to mass customization of orthopedic medical implants. The results demonstrate how firms can use artifacts to build a shared understanding across heterogeneous stakeholders as they explore and develop new open innovation models, and how this process can be managed flexibly to avoid adopting a locally (rather than globally) optimal strategy.