In digital innovation we conduct research, using a mix of methods, to study how the unique properties of digital technology is used to create services, products and business processes. The use of digital properties puts new demands on internal as well external innovation. The goal is to transform organizations to realize the opportunities that emerging digital technologies provide and to develop strategies to manage the challenges that occur.

Open Digital Innovation

Digital technology brings unique properties to products and services. By separating the logic from the physical form, so called generativity, digital devices can provide many reprogrammable functions. Also, by representing data in a uniform way, a digital device can handle any type of data, e.g. audio, video, text, image. This is often referred to as convergence and means that a single digital device can provide new affordances that each used to require a separate tool or service. Convergence also means that digital technology can be embedded in non-digital products, making them “smart”. Finally, digital technology is self-referencing, meaning that digital innovation requires digital technology. The effect is that diffusion of digital technology increases and entry barriers in terms of knowledge and investment cost are lowered. Which has transforming implications on individual business models and whole industries.

The unique properties of digital technology and the structure of digital products enable new types of innovation processes that are particularly rapid and difficult to control and predict. New products and new versions of existing products can be distributed on a global scale with very short time frames. You can partner with a firm in one layer of the modular and layered product structure while competing with the same firm at another layer.

Several challenges arise when mature and established industries meet the high-paced and networking software industry. As digital technology becomes embedded in the core of customer offerings and business operations, organizations find themselves being part of new business ecosystems and therefore must develop more open and distributed innovation processes. However, established organizations often find it difficult because of a legacy of closed innovation processes and hierarchical product structures. To facilitate collaboration between incumbent firms and external software developers, new forms for organizing innovation emerge, such as contests, garages and hubs.

Platforms are central to digital innovation as they enable organizations to transfer design capabilities to external actors. Platforms provide standards, such as Application Programming Interfaces, and digital resources such as Software Developer Kits. One example is Google’s developer platform for the mobile operating system Android, which supports developers in the design and development as well as the distribution and marketing of digital products.

Industry 4.0

Industry and many start-ups are looking for new ways to successfully adopt these advanced technologies; they are aiming for an efficient transformation towards Industry 4.0. Academic observers believe Industry 4.0 to be more of a revolution due to its fundamental improvements in technology innovations, operational efficiency, and enhanced customer services. However, companies are not able to figure out how to effectively adopt these disruptive technologies and transform towards Industry 4.0, and at the same time, to solve the problems and challenges of their legacy systems. More researches are demanded to provide the vital knowledge (methods, models and tools) needed to support the digital transformation process, and to contribute to critical theories that can advance the understanding of this transformation process.

For advancing the knowledge to this research area, we aim to conduct multiple cases studies and analyze the role of digital innovations played in transformation to Industry 4.0.  As well the problems generated by the adoption of digital innovations are salient to be investigated. The problems can be studied from technical, organizational, individual and societal aspects.

  • Deepen the understanding of the phenomena of digital transformation towards Industry 4.0
  • Investigate rigorously the adoption process of digital innovations in different organizations
  • Provide new knowledge to understand the emerging techno-social systems (e.g. blockchain-enabled new governance mechanism and business logic innovations)
  • Contribute with significant knowledge to theories of organizational changes and employees’ behavior change caused by digital transformation
  • Contribute with new knowledge to understand potential societal consequences of digital transformation in industry 4.0

Current research:

  • Distributed point to point systems integration for industry 4.0
  • Collaborate with Dr. Jens Ohlsson, Duqtor think-tank; Jörgen Clevesjo, Ghost Lab & Sandvik; and Nevzat Ertan, Sandvik Coromat.
  • Automatic enterprise modeling for transforming manufacturing industry (4.0)
  • Collaborate with Marco Nardello, Aalborg University Denmark
  • Social commerce and transformation of mini or small enterprises in digital environments
  • Collaborate with Prof. Qingfei Ming, Dalian University of Technology, China
  • Enterprise cross-broader e-commerce development and impacts on digital economy
  • Collaborate with Prof. Libin E, Dongbei University of Economics and Finance, China