Open Innovation in Virtual Enterprises: An Ontology-based Approach
Innovation is recognised as a challenging activity, then it gets even more challenging if we address innovation in virtual enterprises, adopting an open approach based on advanced cooperation and interoperability. Innovation is usually seen as a process, i.e., as a set of activities that are able to intervene and change for better one or more business elements (e.g., products or business processes); therefore the knowledge concerning innovation is typically represented as a workflow. However, an innovation process is different from a usual business process, since it belongs to the category of creative endeavours that exhibit loosely structured worflows, difficult to be modelled and managed with the ‘usual’ methods. Furthermore, if we operate in a Virtual Enterprise, where several networked actors cooperate in a distributed way, the innovation process gets even more complex. For these reasons, the paper proposes a process reification method and develops the notion of an innovation as an evolving entity on top of which novel supporting systems can be built. Such an ‘innovation entity’, referred to as Innogotchi, is structured as a Bill-of-Material and represents the reference innovation ontology. We propose an implementation of the Innogotchi by using the Topic Maps standard that exhibit a number of convenient features for our purpose, among which the capability to simultaneously represent concepts, instances as well as information resources within a unified frame. The computational model underpinning the proposed methodology is also introduced.
KeywordsOpen innovation Virtual enterprise Object-centric process Onotology-based representation of innovation Topic maps
This work has been partly funded by the European Commission through the Project BIVEE: Business Innovation and Virtual Enterprise Environment (Grant Agreement No. 285746).
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