Alexia Jacobsen defended thesis

Added: Tuesday 3 September 2013, 13:00

jacobsenFriday 16 August Alexia Jacobsen defended her PhD thesis on user-driven innovation in front of a large audience and of course the evaluation committee, which consisted of Professor Frank Gertsen from AAU, Professor Jacob Buur from SDU and Professor Patricia Wolf from ETH Zurich.

The field of user-driven innovation has gained considerable attention both empirically and theoretically as a means for gaining a rare insight into the needs, desires, wishes, values, and practices of the users to develop new products/services/concepts with and for the users (Sanders and Stappe, 2008). This has allowed for mutual learning between users and companies and thereby jointly creating and developing something new, whether that is a new product, service, or concept (Pals et al., 2008). However, user-driven innovation theory today focuses mostly on the dyadic relationship between a single organisation and its users, neglecting the necessity in most industries of conducting innovation on a business network level rather than a single entity level. The PhD thesis of Alexia Jacobsen contributed to this exact topic.

The empirical research was conducted in the construction material industry. This setting was of particular interest in relation to user-driven innovation as the industry had long been known for falling behind other industries in terms of innovation activities (Winch, 1998). Several initiatives had been introduced in the industry, such as Partnering, Digital Building, RFID implementation, and revaluing construction (Bejder et al., 2008), but most failed to live up to their full potential. Alexia argued that due to conservative traditions, dominating trade unions, and lack of network collaboration it was difficult to introduce new initiatives in the industry, without the involvement and full acceptance of all the business partners in the given network.

The thesis amongst other things found that a determining factor for implementing user-driven innovation in a business network is the element of trust. The thesis described that trust is enhanced through implementation readiness for user-driven innovation in business networks; through further insight into the processes and activities for user-driven innovation; and through insight into the different methods and tools for user-driven innovation. Thus, the following elements were developed as a part of the thesis:

  • Development of a measurement tool of implementation readiness for user-driven innovation in business networks
  • Development of activities, a framework, and a structure for user-driven innovation in business networks
  • Development of methods and tools for user-driven innovation in business networks

Feel free to contact Alexia Jacobsen (mail: aj(at)business.aau.dk or phone: +4521628808) if you are interested in the subject and would like to gain some more information.


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