Open innovation in the research and development process: an analysis of the cooperation between automotive companies and universities

Abstract: The growing demand for innovation and the need for reducing time and cost of new products development have changed the Brazilian automobile scenario, which has been characterized by a closed innovation model for a long time. Flex fuel technology has been a challenge for the companies in this sector, and it is the motivating factor of this study, which aimed to understand the open innovation process within the fuzzy front end context, identifying the main motivations and implementation gaps. In order to reach this goal, a longitudinal case study has been carried out in a consortium composed by nine companies and two universities. The methodology has involved some qualitative and quantitative research. The main theoretical contribution from this research is precisely the pioneering concerning the automobile assembly companies working in a collaborative way. This research has also major managerial implications. It points out the peculiarities that shall be considered in a coopetition environment, as well as makes suggestions to the managers regarding the way of working the initial innovation phases. The research portrays well the role of the Universities in this context.