„The Rise and Fall of Interdisciplinary Research“ now also as book

If you have missed our article „The Rise and Fall of Interdisciplinary Research: The Case of Open Source Innovation“ in Research Policy in 2013, I am happy to say that you can read a version of it in the just now published book Open Source Innovation (Routledge). Thanks to Daniel Ehls and Cornelius Herstatt for editing and taking care of everything.

Welcome Sabrina Korreck

We welcome Sabrina Korreck (still with an empty web page) as a new doctoral student to our team. She will be examining User Foresight (how firms make use of Users knowledge for trend recognition/idea generation) as part of a three University project between University of Hamburg (me), Helmut Schmidt University (Hans Koller), and the Technical University of Hamburg (Cornelius Herstatt).
Excitedly looking forward to work with her on that project!

To Own or not to Own

The move from a manufacturing and product-based economy towards a knowledge-based service economy is certainly exciting and interesting.

One obvious change of course is the digitization of products which companies use to switch from the „buy it and own it“ mode to a „license the right to use it“ mode. Even in the non-digital world we observe an increasing trend towards „PaaS“ (Product as a Service). Think car sharing which transforms the need to buy and own a car towards the service of going from A-to-B whenever you need it.

For example, in 2014, publisher Aspen attempted to license a (physical) book to students during the run of a course which they would have to return after the course finished. This would have done away with pesky reselling to others while the costs would have remained the same ($200). (src: golem.de (in German))
In this case, Aspen seems to have backed down by continuing to offer a sales option after the move was heavily critizied by the EFF and others.

Technological progress enables thousands of new possibilities, but rather than empowering users, it seems that we are increasingly limiting and controlling them in ways stronger than ever.
We are moving away from a world in which the first sales doctrine enables library loans and resale of owned property to others towards a world where your licensed rights are limited by severe restrictions, where CODE IS LAW.

Restrictions such as: not moving countries, not bequeathing your „property“,  only using specific devices, not being able to print or backup your content, or not being able to consume your content after a few years (at the whim of your vendor). Your „purchased“ media might even disappear, for example because your multi-billion turnover vendor has a bug in its code.

It is surprising how many limitations consumers are willing to accept in return for the convenience to read to watch that media right now.

Good luck Piet Hausberg

My dear friend and colleague Piet Hausberg was employee #1 at the chair of Management and Digital Markets. Since July 2013, he has been performing research as a postdoctoral researcher, coaching students at all levels, being a nice guy and drinking an insubordinate amount of coffee (making me feel less bad in comparison).
However, after barely 1 and a half year, he has already moved on to form a chair of his own at the University of Osnabrück. There he holds the chair of Technology and Innovationmanagement now.
Unfortunately, it is a time-limited assistent professorship and he will still have to make it onto a permanent position. He has all the skills and knowledge, but Fortuna plays her part as well, so I wish him all the best of luck.
We continue to collaborate on reserach topics and occassionally host him in our premises to save him 5 hours of commuting time (on a single day!).

It was fun to have such a great colleague that close, now it will have to suffice to have a great colleague a bit futher away, good luck Piet!

Spaeth, S., von Krogh, G., & He, F. @ ISR (2014)

Spaeth, S., von Krogh, G., & He, F. (2014). Perceived firm attributes and intrinsic motivation in sponsored open source software projects. Information Systems Research, forthcoming. doi:10.1287/isre.2014.0539
is out and if you are subscribed is available here. Everyone else can grab a pre-print version (pdf).  It has taken us just about 8 years to get it done. Hurray! Thanks to Georg and Vivianna for bringing this through, and thanks to Natalia Levina for guiding us through the lengthy process.

Abstract: Voluntary contributions are crucial to the success of open source software (OSS) projects. Firms sponsoring OSS projects may face substantial challenges in soliciting such contributions, since volunteer participants are neither regulated by an employment contract nor offered financial incentives. While prior work has shown the positive impact of motivation on the effort expended by volunteer participants, there is limited understanding of how specific firm attributes shape volunteers’ intrinsic motivation. We offer a theoretical model of how the perceived community-based credibility and openness of the sponsoring firm have a positive impact on the intrinsic motivation of volunteer participants. The model is explored using survey data on volunteer participants from two sponsored OSS projects. Results show that a sponsoring firm’s community-based credibility (OSS developers’ perception of its expertise and trustworthiness) and openness (its mutual knowledge exchange with the community) strengthen the volunteer participants’ social identification with the firm-sponsored community, which in turn reinforces their intrinsic motivation to participate. Moreover, the perceived community-based credibility of a sponsoring firm directly enhances volunteer participants’ intrinsic motivation, whereas perceived openness fails to affect motivation without the mediating mechanism of social identification. Implications for firms seeking voluntary contributions for their sponsored OSS projects are discussed.

Hamburg has a public 3D printer

3D printing is a powerful tool to learn, collaborate, tinker, and experiment. We are delighted to learn that the „Bücherhallen Hamburg“ have acquired a 3d printer that can be used by the general public for free. Whatever will become of libraries in a (not so far?) digital future, I hope they will remain public places (a „BA„) that enable the sharing and creation of knowledge. This is one of they many ways in which that can happen.

Smart phones conquer Germany

Having purchased a fairphone for Christmas, our family-owned collection of Android devices has been extended again. Obviously, we are not the only ones. German industry association Bitkom has released estimates of smartphone marketshare in 2014. Heise.de duly reports the results, so does golem.de. It is expected that the German marketshare of smartphones will reach 82% in 2014, amounting to 95% of all mobile phone revenue.

The more interesting phenomenon is the incredible growth of data vs talk: The revenue related to mobile data is expected to grow to 9.6 billion €  while voice-related revenue is supposed to shrink to 10.9 billion €. Despite uncertainties in predicting annual revenue in February, the trend is quite obvious: next year, data-related revenue is expected to overtake voice. Transferred data over mobile connection has grown from 11mio GByte in 2008, to an estimated 330 mio GByte in 2014.

It is interesting to note that while people harp on about, and expect fair treatment on their fixed internet connection (remember the tumult last year, when German Telecom announced reduced speed after a certain volume has been reached?), they seem to accept anything on mobile: volume limits on their „flat rate“ plans, usage restrictions (no VOIP services allowed), and services paid for by content providers who do not count in your volume plan, as currently experimented with by ATT and others (e.g ESPN-Verizon and Facebook-TMobile subsidiary GoSmart). If firms keep on course, the mobile internet experience is set to be different from what we know as the internet.