Open Innovation in High Tech Industries: The case of Microsoft Kinect

Gustav von Platen

Student thesis: Master thesis


New technology novel enough to advance whole industries does not occur on a regular basis, technology like the touch screen that makes it easier to communicate with phones, tablets, and even computers are one of them. In this study you will find the next step in evolution of user interaction that was originally developed for the mass market in interactive entertainment, the Kinect. This technology was so advanced in relation to its price for consumers compared to existing technology that it has spread beyond its core market into several non related industries and taken them years ahead in research. This study sets out trying to explain how the Kinect device can expand into non related industries through a case study of the Kinect and its creators Microsoft. Using open innovation theory directed towards processes and methods of practice integrating users in the innovation process the study reveals that in this case, the lead users took control of the technology using reverse engineering and showed the world and Microsoft what the possibilities were with the device. Furthermore this triggered Microsoft to capitalized on the possibilities by ratifying it, building a network around it using open innovation principles and working with the lead users. Due to the support of Microsoft the technology could grow and by supporting open innovation the creation of firms focusing on the development of applications using the Kinect in non related industries they set a new standard for the use of natural user interfaces in many industries, for example, the robotics, medical and fashion industries. To reach this conclusion the theory was applied to three separate phases to measure the application of open innovation principles in the evolution of the ecosystem, by doing that the study could identify the lead users as initiators and Microsoft as enablers.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages76