Integrating open innovation platforms in public sector decision making : empirical results from smart city research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Jukka Ojasalo
  • Lassi Tähtinen

Research units

  • Laurea University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Helsinki
  • Aalto University


The purpose of this article is to increase knowledge of integrating an open innovation platform into public sector decision-making processes. Many of the distinctive characteristics of public sector decision-making processes pose a challenge for innovation collaboration with external actors. Often, external actors are not aware of these distinctive characteristics, or they find it very difficult to adapt to them. Particularly SMEs and startups find it difficult to adjust their operation to public sector decision-making processes. The existing literature includes very little knowledge of how such an innovation platform, which is an intermediary between a city and external actors, relates to the city’s decision-making processes. Still, this is an important issue considering the prerequisites of the success of an innovation platform. This qualitative explorative study is based on data from in-depth interviews and co-creative multi-actor workshops with participants from city governments and other organizations. It proposes a model of open innovation platform for public sector decision making in a city. The article contributes to the literature dealing with innovation intermediaries as well as public sector decision making in enhancement of innovation. It identifies and introduces three different kinds of relationships that are present and partly interwoven in open innovation platforms and intermediary organizations: governing, sparring, and collaborative. The prosed model shows a practical way of organizing the three types of relationships of an innovation platform with the city’s decision making and external actors. The model also helps in combining different decision-making cultures between the public, private, and third sectors in the context of collaborative innovation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalTechnology Innovation Management Review
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • open innovation platform, public decision making, collaborative innovation , innovation Intermediary, smart city

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