A Study of NASA Scientists Shows How to Overcome Barriers to Open Innovation
— May 29, 2018
By Hila Lifshitz-Assaf
We conducted an in-depth, three-year study at NASA’s Space Life Sciences Directorate to closely track the opportunities and challenges involved with open innovation in an incumbent R&D organization over time. Over the course of one year, we observed as NASA took a two-track approach to solving 14 strategic problems: The organization used both the traditional collaborative R&D model led by its own experts, and also open online innovation platforms led by crowds of non-domain experts.
The second approach led to relatively speedy solutions to three of the challenges and was particularly successful in the challenge of predicting dangerous solar storms, where it produced a breakthrough within a mere three months. But bringing the open-source solutions to life proved more challenging. Some of the directorate’s scientists and engineers resisted the new approaches, citing process, budget, and procedural issues. The managers were able to solve those challenges, yet the tensions remained.
Read the full article as published by Harvard Business Review.
Hila Lifshitz-Assaf is an Assistant Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences.