ESR 17: Barbara Mehner

Host Institution: 
WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Open innovation methods, technology transfer and commercialization strategies for innovation
Currently: Doctoral Program in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, WU Vienna (AT); Previously: B.Sc. in Psychology and M.Sc. in Economic, Organizational and Social Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich (DE)
Research Interests: 
  • Open and User Innovation
  • Open Innovation Methods (e.g. Crowdsourcing, Technology Competence Leveraging)
  • Search Techniques for Identifying Rare Subjects (e.g. Broadcasting, Pyramiding)
  • Technology and Knowledge Transfer
  • Problem Solving and Learning

Barbara Mehner has a background in psychology and business. Within STREAM, she works in the valorization work package applying her expertise in innovation, knowledge & change management and technology transfer. She is a Ph.D. Candidate at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business at the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Before joining STREAM in 2016, Barbara studied Psychology with Business Administration as a minor subject at Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, Germany, and at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. During and after her studies, she worked in different areas, e.g. in human computer interaction, change and innovation management, and consulting.

Research at STREAM: 

This research in the domains of open innovation methods, technology transfer and commercialization strategies is part of the STREAM Work Package 6 - Technology valorization. Barbara hopes to contribute to one of the important questions in innovation - how to transfer external, innovation relevant knowledge to an organization that is looking for it or the other way round (e.g. von Hippel, 1994).

Especially organizations conducting fundamental research, like CERN, but also companies in the private sector inventing highly complex technologies, often fail to commercialize them in a way, that both they themselves but also others can benefit from it properly. This lack of exploitation causes an overall welfare loss (e.g. Henkel & von Hippel, 2004).

In various field studies, Barbara explores, in how far different open innovation methods, namely crowdsourcing contests and pyramiding search, are effective means for identifying new application fields for innovative technologies that are developed within the STREAM project. Important aspects that might lead to differences in the effectiveness of the open innovation methods are explored. Exemplary aspects that might be relevant and are examined in her studies are the complexity and the maturity of the technology, for which new application fields are sought. The goal of this research are clear recommendations for organizations on which methods to use in order to find the best new application fields for their respective technologies and consequently commercializing them effectively.



Host Institution and Secondment Topic 

Expected secondment period

MIT (USA), Exchange with research community on technology and knowledge transfer

3 weeks in February 2019

Fraunhofer (DE), Practical exploration of innovation processes at Fraunhofer Venture and discussion of strategies for innovations

 2 weeks in April 2019


The expected results of this study will help to improve strategies for technology transfer and commercialization of inventions. From a theoretical perspective, this research follows calls for studies on the practical application of open innovation methods, such as pyramiding search for the identification of experts and rare knowledge (Savino, Messeni Petruzzelli, & Albino, 2017).

The interdisciplinary and intercultural exchange with fellow ESRs and other researchers in the program helped to include perspectives from different disciplines and various scientific communities into this research, resulting in a higher practical and theoretical relevance of the topic.

Learning in pyramiding, Poster Presentation, Open and User Innovation Conference, University of Innsbruck (AT),
Aalto Workshop on Innovation Ecosystems, Aalto University (FI)
Product Innovation Management, Doctoral Consortium at University of New Hampshire,(US)
Open and User Innovation Conference, New York University (US), 10-12.07.18
Open and User Innovation Conference, Utrecht, (NE), 08.07-10.07.19
Innovating Advanced Radiation Instruments

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