February 2014 Download this article as a PDF

Welcome to the February 2014 issue of the Technology Innovation Management Review. This month's editorial theme is Seeking Solutions, which takes its name from an approach to local open innovation that was a focus of our March 2013 issue.

The first three articles in this issue were selected from papers presented at the first International Seeking Solutions Summit (I3S), which was held in Quebec City, Canada, in November 2013, as a collaboration between En Mode Solutions, Quebec International, and the TIM Review.

The International Seeking Solutions Summit was paired with the 3rd Quebec Seeks Solutions event, in which companies presented their challenging industrial problems to a local community of multidisciplinary specialists. On the first day, an international line-up of summit participants came together to "think globally" about local open innovation; on the second day, companies and problem solvers came together to "act locally" in developing creative solutions to the complex problems faced by local companies. It was my pleasure to participate in these two unique events, and I hope that the articles in this issue will encourage you also to think globally and act locally to foster innovation.

In the first article, Stoyan Tanev and Marianne Harbo Frederiksen from the University of Southern Denmark emphasize the importance of customer creativity in the adoption of new technology products. They argue that companies can increase the success of their innovation activities by viewing innovation as "the adoption of a new practice by a community", which will shift their focus to the ultimate recipient of the innovation outcome: the customer. The authors outline a generative approach to managing innovation, including practices to sharpen a company's focus on the adoption of its technology products by its customers.

Next, Jesper Bank and Adnan Raza share their experiences with collaborative idea management at Waabii Limited. Collaborative idea management is a means for companies to harness the creative input of their employees on an ongoing basis to drive continuous innovation. Bank and Raza identify the factors that inhibit innovation in growing companies, and then describe the key elements of collaborative idea management as a means of overcoming these inhibitors. They describe the key components of the tools and processes to support and implement collaborative idea management, and provide a case study to demonstrate its benefits.

Tom Coughlan from the School of Business at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, examines the different types of proximity – not just the physical distance between individuals – to illustrate the importance of virtual proximity in enhancing a company's innovation capability. Virtual proximity refers to the level of emotional closeness between individuals, as developed through the use of information and communications technologies. Couglan highlights the importance of virtual proximity by identifying the key elements of effective communication and use of media, and the related links between regional clusters and innovation. The article concludes with practical recommendations for managers developing a virtual proximity strategy.

In the final article, Walter Miron and David Hudson from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, identify the barriers that managers of development projects of large technology firms face in allowing employees to act entrepreneurially. By reviewing the literature on entrepreneurial orientation and employee entrepreneurship, they examine the obstacles to employee entrepreneurship within development projects using the component framework from entrepreneurial orientation. Finally, they provide a tool that managers of development projects can use to help their project members overcome the obstacles to employees acting entrepreneurially in large technology firms.

In March, we will welcome back David Hudson in the role of guest editor for an issue on the editorial theme of Emerging Technologies.

Finally, please note that the International Seeking Solutions Summit was also supported by the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) as a precursor for the first ISPIM Americas conference, which will be held in Montreal, Canada, on October 5–8, 2014. Carleton University's TIM program and the TIM Review will be organizing a conference track on technology entrepreneurship and innovation, and I encourage you to read the call for papers and consider attending this unique conference.

We hope you enjoy this issue of the TIM Review and will share your comments online. Please contact us with article topics and submissions, suggestions for future themes, and any other feedback.

Chris McPhee

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Keywords: collaboration, employee entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial orientation, entrepreneurship, innovation, local open innovation, Open innovation, Seeking Solutions, technology adoption, value creation, virtual proximity