As the concept of co-creation has evolved in the innovation management literature its meaning has become ambiguous and the boundaries between it and the concept of open innovation have become opaque. The purpose of this paper is to more clearly define the concept of co-creation and to articulate how it differs from and relates to the concept of open innovation. Scholars are divided as to whether co-creation is a subsidiary concept of open innovation, a surrogate concept that is essentially indistinguishable from open innovation, or a separate concept that developed independently but was subsequently intermingled and interfused with open innovation. This paper addresses this scholarly confusion by conducting a systematic two-stage review of the innovation management literature, commencing with of a ‘broad brush’ bibliometric analysis, focused on the origins and evolution of co-creation and open innovation, followed by a ‘deep dive’ literature review in which the two concepts were rigorously compared. By proposing a cogent definition and taxonomy of co-creation, and thereby distinguishing it from open innovation, the paper goes beyond the current state of the literature and provides a more robust basis for future research.
Tension between dynamic innovation activities and conventional static methods of intellectual property (IP) protection pushes companies to cultivate new IP management strategies that are responsive to the dual challenges of control and openness of IP in co-creation projects. Great openness may obstruct appropriation of benefits from co-creation outcomes, while great control may demotivate individual external contributors and impede their contributions to corporate innovation projects. Finding an appropriate approach to harmonising control and openness of IP is complicated by the peculiarities of the context of co-creation, yet the issue of the context dependence of IP management in co-creation has thus far received only minor attention in the innovation management literature. Hence, arguing that management of IP needs to be customised to match the specificities of particular co-creation projects, we conducted exploratory research intended to investigate what IP management strategies companies actually adopt in distinctive co-creation contexts, as well as how those IP management strategies differ across the co-creation contexts. Drawing upon the results of an analysis of 111 co-creation projects from the automotive industry, we provide an overview of 17 unique configurations of IP management strategies employed by companies, revealing notable contrasts between different co-creation contexts. By emphasising the importance of adopting a contextual perspective on IP management in co-creation, this article addresses current limitations of academic research at the interface of IP and co-creation and provides guidelines to project managers about which IP management strategies may be most prudent for specific co-creation contexts.