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Hybrid innovation logics: Exploratory product development with users in a corporate makerspace

Russell E. Browder Cole J. Crider
Journal of Product Innovation Management. December 14, 2022

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Advances in digital manufacturing technologies have not only altered R&D processes for new product development (NPD), but they have also opened new possibilities for user innovators to engage in traditionally closed innovation processes. However, incorporating external sources of user innovation—through design challenges or crowdsourcing, for example—can introduce competing logics into exploratory innovation processes. Using the lens of complexity, we conduct an ethnographic study of the competing logics at work in the NPD processes of a corporate makerspace launched by a large firm in the consumer appliances industry. The makerspace was founded with a hybrid logic, intended to combine the community logic of makers with the corporate logic of the parent organization. We analyze the conflicts that arose between logics and how the hybrid logic evolved through four iterations of the NPD process. We identify how managing multiple logics led to structural and identity changes, and we explain how two mechanisms—structural bridging and stakeholder identity linking—enabled the makerspace to innovate with a hybrid logic and overcome the constraints of a dominant logic on the NPD process. The results offer insights into dynamic organizational responses to complexity, how new business initiatives can be structured to act as exploratory units for corporate parents, and how corporate makerspaces can help incorporate external sources of innovation.