March 2011

From the Editor-in-Chief

The editorial theme for this issue of the OSBR is Co-Creation. We have invited authors from the Research Forum to Understand Business in Knowledge Society to contribute to this issue. I am pleased to welcome our Guest Editors: Marko Seppä from the University of Jyväskylä and Stoyan Tanev from the University of Southern Denmark.

We encourage readers to share articles of interest with their colleagues, and to provide their comments either online or directly to the authors.

The editorial theme for the upcoming April issue is Communications Enabled Applications. For subsequent issues, we welcome general submissions on the topic of open source business or the growth of early-stage technology companies. Please contact me if you are interested in submitting an article.

Chris McPhee


From the Guest Editors

The articles invited for publication in this special issue of the OSBR were originally presented last September at EBRF 2010, in Nokia, Finland. EBRF – the research forum to understand business in the knowledge society – is the oldest international peer-reviewed business research conference organized annually in Finland. The first EBRF conference was organized in Tampere, Finland in 2001. The grand theme of the 10th anniversary EBRF conference was "Co-Creation as a Way Forward".

For this issue of the OSBR, a preliminary subset of EBRF articles were selected by a specifically designed committee of scholars that was asked to nominate EBRF articles fitting the topic of the special issue and providing valuable insights to both scholars and practitioners. We invited the authors to create specialized versions of the papers that were previously published in the EBRF 2010 Conference Proceedings by focusing on the practical relevance of their research for an audience including not only scholars but also business and technology experts. After the submission of the OSBR versions, an additional peer review process was used to select seven articles offering diverse perspectives on co-creation.

In the first article, we offer our view of the emerging research on value co-creation by focusing on three key topics including a general management perspective, new product development and innovation, and business (enterprise) co-creation. The article concludes with a discussion of the ongoing transformation of businesses, which is based on two major trends: i) customer value is emerging from unique, personalized experiences that force firms to focus on one consumer experience at a time, and ii) no firm is big enough in scope and size to satisfy the experiences of one consumer at a time, therefore, all firms are focusing on acquiring resources from a wide variety of other big and small firms.

Next, Huhtamäki and colleagues apply the concept of value co-creation to understand a national innovation ecosystem. The article analyzes linkages between organizations and their human and financial resources to observe the emergence of co-operative types of activities in Finland. This research provides early evidence on how co-creation emerges through financial linkages. The network-centric snapshot of value co-creation highlights collaboration of venture capital and government agencies in Finnish innovation financing.

Järvi and Pellinen find value co-creation as key to redefining a business model. The prevailing environment forces firms to reinvent value together, instead of just adding it. The imperative of co-creation is highlighted in the information and communication technology sector, where the markets are transforming from “one-sided to two-sided”. The article integrates the business model concept with value co-creation in the context of two-sided markets, with emphasis on mobile service production and provision models.

Hyötyläinen and colleagues present four models of business renewal within business networks. The article distinguishes between the exploitation of present knowledge for efficiency and the exploration of new knowledge for new business development. They describe their recent research, which provides evidence from five cases on how co-creation between participants differs according to business focus and complexity of networks. Ideally, the approach will help managers use co-creation in business networks, enabling renewal according to the strategic targets of their firm.

Ahen and Zettinig study the strategic impact of corporate responsibility on value co-creation in pharmaceutical business networks. The paper adds the responsibility component to the definition of value co-creation and builds a model of value-optimization through value co-protection and ethical responsibility. Metaphorically challenging criminal organizations and their efficient use of networks, the study argues that corporate responsibility can be used to achieve high strategic impact on value co-creation in business networks.

Chen and Sorenson integrate service quality and value co-creation in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business relationships between service providers and customers. The paper argues that, in the SaaS delivery, it is necessary to pay more attention on the nature of service quality shared by both service providers and customers. The research derives from a survey demonstrating a strong correspondence between the service quality required or desired by a client and the business relationship needed between SaaS clients and providers.

Savolainen and Häkkinen examine trust in leadership as an antecedent of co-creation in "multi-voiced" organizations. The paper focuses on how leaders enable co-creative interactions: how leaders show trustworthiness by building and sustaining or violating trust. The findings, based on two case studies on small industrial companies, suggest that competence (ability) is a key factor in a leader’s trustworthiness. Therefore, the value of developing leadership skills for showing trustworthiness cannot be overestimated in value co-creation.

Marko Seppä and Stoyan Tanev

Guest Editors

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