Open Innovation for Wicked Problems: Using Proximity to Overcome Barriers

W.M. Ooms*, R. (Roel) Piepenbrink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Open innovation is a viable strategy to solve wicked problems. However, the complexity of these types of problems renders the management of open innovation initiatives (even) more difficult. How can managers make open innovation for complex or even wicked problems work? This article examines case studies of open innovation initiatives adopting a health care service innovation. It uses the proximity framework to identify several ways in which open innovation barriers can be overcome despite their complexity. The case study findings show how partners leverage their differences to the benefit of service innovation in the face of wicked problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-100
JournalCalifornia Management Review
Issue number2
Early online date9 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • open innovation
  • open service innovation
  • adoption
  • public-private collaboration
  • health care


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