• Acquisition through innovation tournaments in high-tech industries: A comparative perspective

      Kleer, Robin; Wagner, Marcus (Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 2013)
      Acquisition of innovative firms is a widely observed phenomenon in high-tech industries. On the basis of distinct advantages of large and small firms, in this paper, we build a tournament model with possible acquisition activity of large firms to derive hypotheses on interdependencies between acquisition frequency and post-acquisition success rates. We find empirical support for our hypotheses that (1) acquisitions increase overall innovation output and (2) that the number of acquisitions is higher in industries with larger heterogeneity between established firms and young start-ups. However, our third hypothesis derived from the formal model that innovation success following from acquisitions varies across industries is only partially confirmed.
    • Acquisitions in a patent contest model with large and small firms

      Kleer, Robin (Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, 2009)
      Big companies and small innovation factories possess different advantages in a patent contest. While large firms typically have better access to product markets, small firms often have a superior R&D efficiency. These distinct advantages immediately lead to the question of cooperations between firms. In this paper, we model a patent contest with heterogeneous firms. In a pre-contest acquisition game large firms bid sequentially for small firms to combine respective advantages. Sequential bidding allows the first large firms to bid strategically to induce a reaction of its competitor. For high efficiencies both large firms prefer to acquire immediately leading to a symmetric market structure. For low efficiencies strategic waiting of the first large firm leads to an asymmetric market structure even though the initial situation is symmetric. We also discuss two different timing setups of the acquisition stage. In all setups, acquisitions increase the chances for a successful innovation.
    • Are modular and customizable smartphones the future, or doomed to fail? A case study on the introduction of sustainable consumer electronics

      Hankammer, Stephan; Jiang, Ruth; Kleer, Robin; Schymanietz, Martin (CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology, 2018)
      Mass Customization (MC) has become a major trend in the consumer goods market in recent years. While the economic chances and threats are already described very well, the social and environmental impact of MC products remain unclear. Phonebloks, a design study of a modular smartphone launched in 2013, created a vision about fostering sustainability through MC. Teaming up with Google’s Project Ara, a modular and customizable smartphone approach seemed very likely to reach market maturity. In 2016, Google canceled Project Ara shortly before the awaited market introduction. Analyzing the rise and fall of the first large scale MC based business model that was initially designed to foster sustainability in the consumer electronics market, gives us the opportunity to revise the economic, social and ecologic potential of modular and customizable smartphones in general. Furthermore, with constantly growing consumer requirements for new product iterations in shorter time frames, traditional measures for success, such as time-to-market, could change inherently as we are moving closer towards iterative product development processes and much shorter product life-cycles. This, in turn, leads to major changes for ramp-up processes. Using a qualitative case study approach based on expert interviews at two different stages of the Project Ara development process (2015 and 2017), we shed light on the future of modular and customizable smartphones and their economic, social and ecologic sustainability potential. We show that while Project Ara failed in the end, it had the economic potential to outperform its competitors in the field of modular smartphones. We find that an MC approach could lead to longer smartphone or, at least, component life cycles. Finally, we affirm a positive potential for influencing sociocultural behavior in the long tail of the smartphone market.
    • Collaborative value creation from a degrowth perspective

      Hankammer, Stephan; Kleer, Robin (Journal of Cleaner Production, 2018)
      The concept of degrowth aims fundamentally at reducing material and energy throughput equitably, while questioning the desirability of further economic growth. In order to achieve this reduction of society’s throughput, radical changes in the ways goods and services are produced, distributed and used are required. In this think piece, concepts of consumer integration into the value creation process and (new) enabling technologies are discussed as possible constituting elements of alternative organizational models in a degrowth society. To date, collaborative value creation concepts, such as crowdsourcing and mass customization, have been discussed almost exclusively as business model patterns for companies in economies that are set to grow. The same applies to the assessment of (new) technologies, such as additive manufacturing, web-based user interfaces for co-creation, and other flexible production technologies that allow for collaborative and individualized production. Potential positive and negative effects of these concepts and technologies with regard to the objectives of degrowth are discussed in order to initiate a debate about the inclusion of CVC for the design of alternative organizational models that are in line with degrowth thinking. This think piece illustrates that several elements of collaborative value creation and its enabling technologies coincide with degrowth objectives but do not lead per se to their attainment. Thereby, a starting point for future (empirical) work in this area is generated.
    • Degrowth and collaborative value creation: Reflections on concepts and technologies

      Hankammer, Stephan; Kleer, Robin (Journal of Cleaner Production, 2018)
      The concept of degrowth aims fundamentally at reducing material and energy throughput equitably, while questioning the desirability of further economic growth. In order to achieve this reduction of society’s throughput, radical changes in the ways goods and services are produced, distributed and used are required. In this think piece, concepts of consumer integration into the value creation process and (new) enabling technologies are discussed as possible constituting elements of alternative organizational models in a degrowth society. To date, collaborative value creation concepts, such as crowdsourcing and mass customization, have been discussed almost exclusively as business model patterns for companies in economies that are set to grow. The same applies to the assessment of (new) technologies, such as additive manufacturing, web-based user interfaces for co-creation, and other flexible production technologies that allow for collaborative and individualized production. Potential positive and negative effects of these concepts and technologies with regard to the objectives of degrowth are discussed in order to initiate a debate about the inclusion of CVC for the design of alternative organizational models that are in line with degrowth thinking. This think piece illustrates that several elements of collaborative value creation and its enabling technologies coincide with degrowth objectives but do not lead per se to their attainment. Thereby, a starting point for future (empirical) work in this area is generated.
    • Economic implications of 3D printing: Market structure models in light of additive manufacturing revisited

      Weller, Christian; Kleer, Robin; Piller, Frank (International Journal of Production Economics, 2015)
      Additive manufacturing (AM), colloquially known as 3D printing, is currently being promoted as the spark of a new industrial revolution. The technology allows one to make customized products without incurring any cost penalties in manufacturing as neither tools nor molds are required. Moreover, AM enables the production of complex and integrated functional designs in a one-step process, thereby also potentially reducing the need for assembly work. In this article, we discuss the impact of AM technology at both firm and industry level. Our intention is to discern how market structures will be affected from an operations management perspective. Based on an analysis of established economic models, we first identify the economic and technological characteristics of AM and distill four key principles relevant to manufacturers at firm level. We then critically assess the effects of AM at industry level by analyzing the validity of earlier assumptions in the models when these four principles apply. In so doing, we derive a set of seven propositions which provide impetus for future research. In particular, we propose that in a monopoly, the adoption of AM allows a firm to increase profits by capturing consumer surplus when flexibly producing customized products. Meanwhile in competitive markets, competition is spurred as AM may lower barriers to market entry and offers the ability to serve multiple markets at once. This should ultimately result in lower prices for consumers.
    • F&E komplementarit aten bei KMU

      Kleer, Robin (ZfKE – Zeitschrift für KMU und Entrepreneurship, 2012)
    • Government R&D subsidies as a signal for private investors

      Kleer, Robin (Research Policy, 2010)
      Government subsidies for R&D are intended to promote projects with high returns to society but too little private returns to be beneficial for private investors. This may be caused by spillovers or a low appropriability rate. Apart from the direct funding of these projects, government grants may serve as a signal for good investments for private investors. We use a simple signaling model with different types of R&D projects to capture this phenomenon. The agency has a preference for basic research projects as they promise high expected social returns, while banks prefer applied research projects with high private returns. In a setup where the subsidy can only be used to distinguish between basic and applied research projects, government agency’s signal is not very helpful for banks. However, if the subsidy is accompanied by a quality signal, it can lead to increased or better selected private investments.
    • Local manufacturing and structural shifts in competition: Market dynamics of additive manufacturing

      Kleer, Robin; Pillier, Frank T. (International Journal of Production Economics, 2019)
      Additive manufacturing (AM) allows to build components and finished series products directly from 3D data, without the need for tooling or other setup cost. An often discussed, but hardly investigated opportunity of AM is to establish economical and scalable local production facilities for innovating consumers (who turn into “prosumers”). In this paper, we investigate the effect of such a local production (enabled by AM) on consumer welfare, market structure, and competitive dynamics. Doing so, we provide a new perspective on the fundamental trade-off between the instant availability of (perfectly fitting) products manufactured by and in close proximity to a consumer and the efficiency gains of realizing economies of scale by producing standard products in a central facility. We analyze AM from the perspective of the established theories of user innovation and spatial competition. Building on two game-theoretical (Hotelling) models, we show that there is scope for the improvement of consumer welfare arising from local production by consumer producers. Our analysis allows us to make a number of propositions concerning the effects of AM on market structure when adopted by local users, and to identify the specific conditions of these shifts.
    • Mapping the topic landscape of JPIM, 1984–2013: In search of hidden structures and development trajectories

      Antons, David; Kleer, Robin; Salge, Torsten Oliver (Journal of Product Innovation Management, 2016)
      During the three decades since its inception in 1984, the JPIM has shaped the evolution of innovation research as a scientific field. It helped create a topic landscape that is not only more diverse and rich in insights, but also more complex and fragmented in structure than ever before. We seek to map this landscape and identify salient development trajectories over time. In contrast to prior citation-based studies covering the first two decades of JPIM research, we benefit from recent advances in natural language processing and rely on a topic modeling algorithm to extract 57 distinct topics and the corresponding most common words, terms, and phrases from the entire full-text corpus of 1008 JPIM articles published between 1984 and 2013. Estimating the development trajectory of each topic based on yearly publication counts in JPIM allows us to identify “hot,” “cold,” “revival,” “evergreen,” and “wall-flower” topics. We map these topics onto the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) Body of Knowledge categories and discover that these categories differ significantly not only in terms of their internal topic diversity and relative prevalence, but also—and arguably more importantly—in terms of their publication and citation trajectories over time. For instance, the PDMA category “Codevelopment and Alliances” exhibits only moderate topic diversity (7 out of 57 topics) and prevalence in JPIM (161 out of 1008 articles). That said, it is among the most dynamic categories featuring two evergreen topic (“Users and Innovation” and “Tools and Systems for Technology Transfer”) and three hot topics (“Open Innovation,” “Alliances and Cooperation,” and “Networks and Network Structure”) as well as a sharply growing annual number of citations received. Our findings are likely to be of interest to all those who are keen to (re)discover JPIM's topic landscape in search of hidden structures and development trajectories.
    • Predicting the future of additive manufacturing: A Delphi study on economic and societal implications of 3D printing for 2030

      Jiang, Ruth; Kleer, Robin; Piller, Frank (Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2017)
      Additive manufacturing (colloquially: 3D printing) is a highly discussed topic today. Previous research has argued that this technology will have profound effects for manufacturing businesses, but also society as such, demanding new corporate strategies and policies alike. Thus, the development of reliable future scenarios is key for strategic planning and decision making as well as for future research. Still, dedicated academic studies in this field remain scarce. We present the results of an extensive Delphi survey on the future of additive manufacturing with a focus on its economic and societal implications in this paper. Via an initial round of extensive qualitative interviews and a Delphi-based analysis of 3,510 quantitative estimations and 1,172 qualitative comments from 65 experts, we were able to develop two scenarios on the future of AM. Our first scenario is built on those Delphi projections with the highest consensus on the likelihood of occurrence, the second on the expected highest impact on the firm level. We present these scenarios in and conclude with a number of implications for industry, policy, and future research.
    • Strategies for lowering barriers for nanotechnology commercialization: Theory and results of an empirical study in Europe

      Kleer, Robin; Siems, Florian (European Journal of Management, 2013)
      This paper analyses the nanotechnology industry with respect to the application of open innovation. By analyzing different open innovation practices first in a theoretical discussion, we identified the broadcast search mechanism as the open innovation method with a great potential to overcome the commercialization barrier in nanotechnology. First, broadcast search aims at a better directed, target oriented research and second, it helps to improve matching between supply and demand of research. The characteristics of nanotechnology as a platform industry make matching a very crucial element of improving commercialization efficiency. Based on these theoretical results, we conducted a more detailed industry analysis of nanotechnology. In a large scale quantitative survey, we addressed success factors and barriers to commercialization, including a detailed assessment of open innovation. Our survey on nanotechnology firms shows further that external cooperation is already a central element in some firms’ research strategy, however, organized absorption and in particular dissemination of knowledge is still neglected. Additionally, we see that higher readiness levels (with respect to technology, organization, manufacturing and investment) are positively associated with open innovation and that large firms in nanotechnology are more open towards external cooperation. There are no significant differences across European countries or branches.
    • The effect of mergers on the incentive to invest in cost-reducing innovations

      Kleer, Robin (Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 2012)
      Both mergers and innovation are central elements of a firm's competitive strategy. However, model-theoretical analysis of the merger-innovation link is sparse. The aim of this paper is to analyze the impact of mergers on innovative activities and product market competition in the context of incremental process innovations. Inefficiencies due to organizational problems of mergers are accounted for. We show that optimal investment strategies depend on the resulting market structure and differ significantly from insider to outsider. In our linear model mergers turn out to increase social surplus.
    • Walking parallel paths or taking the same road? The effect of collaborative incentives in innovation contests

      Boss, Viktoria; Kleer, Robin; Vossen, Alexander (International Journal of Innovation Management, 2017)
      We examine the role of participants’ interactions in innovation contests. In contrast to the dominant view of a competitive organisation of innovation contests, we suggest that, especially for ideation projects, a collaborative setting may be beneficial in terms of the amount of ideation activity and the quality of the generated ideas. Using two experiments, we show the usefulness of a collaborative approach when two particular conditions are met: first, the overall effort must be compensated according to performance criteria in such a way that participants are aware of the impact of their actions. Thus, the reward mechanism has to ensure that all contributors to a specific idea benefit from their involvement. Second, the host has to provide feedback throughout the contest to make it clear for participants what idea(s) to focus on. Our results show that, while the elaboration effort can be increased by introducing a collaborative reward mechanism alone, the best results are achieved when both conditions are met.