Since July 2011, Dr. Joel West has been Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI). West teaches business classes in innovation and entrepreneurial management, and supervises Team Master’s Projects. His areas of expertise include open innovation, coopetition in ecosystems and other value networks, and technology entrepreneurship. He is also active in KGI’s technology transfer efforts and is continuing his research on high-tech companies. He previously served as Program Director for the MBS in Business of Bioscience, Program Director for the PPM degree programs, and led efforts to build healthcare economics course offerings, all in the Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences.
An internationally known and NSF-funded researcher on innovation management, Dr. West has been invited to speak at industry and academic events on six continents. He is particularly known for his work on open innovation, which includes being co-editor of Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm (Oxford, 2006) and New Frontiers in Open Innovation (Oxford, 2014). He has also published research on technology entrepreneurship in the biotechnology, digital communications, mobile communications, open source software, 3D printing, and solar energy industries. He co-edited special issues of Industrial and Corporate Change and Research Policy, and from 2014-2016 served as an associate editor of Research Policy. In addition to editing two books, he is the author of more than 50 published articles or book chapters, including articles in Advances in Strategic Management, Industrial & Corporate Change, Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Product Innovation Management, R&D Management, Research Policy, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, and Strategic Management Journal. Since 1996, that research has been cited nearly 14,000 times.
He is professor emeritus at the College of Business, San José State University, where he worked from 2002 through 2011, and was a visiting scholar at the Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University in Fall 2018. He has also taught in MBA programs or served on thesis committees at UC Irvine and eight other schools in the U.S., Europe and Japan. He has a PhD in Management from the University of California, Irvine and an S.B. in Interdisciplinary Sciences (Meteorology) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to becoming an academic, he had an extensive industry career as an engineer, manager and entrepreneur in the software industry. He is co-founder of two high-tech startups, Palomar Software and Shield Pharma.
Paul Olk and Joel West, “The Relationship of Industry Structure to Open Innovation: Cooperative Value Creation in Pharmaceutical Consortia,” R&D Management, 2019.
Krithika Randhawa, Ralf Wilden and Joel West, “Crowdsourcing without Profit: The Role of the Seeker in Open Social Innovation,” R&D Management, 2019.
Erik G. Hansen, Florian Lüdeke-Freund, Iris Xiaohong Quan, and Joel West, “Cross-National Complementarity of Technology Push, Demand Pull, and Manufacturing Push Policies: The Case of Photovoltaics,” IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 65, 4 (November 2018): 1-7. DOI: 10.1109/TEM.2018.2833878
Anne Greul, Joel West and Simon Bock, “Open at birth? Why new firms do (or don’t) use open innovation,” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 12, 3 (September 2018): 392-420. DOI: 10.1002/sej.1282
Oliver Alexy, Joel West, Helge Klapper, and Markus Reitzig, “Surrendering Control to Gain Advantage: Reconciling Openness and the Resource-based View of the Firm,” Strategic Management Journal, Special Issue on New Theory in Strategic Management, 39, 6 (June 2018): 1704-1727. DOI: 10.1002/smj.2706
Joel West and Jonathan Sims, “How Firms Leverage Crowds and Communities,” in Allan Afuah, Christopher Tucci, and Gianluigi Viscusi, eds., Creating and Capturing Value through Crowdsourcing, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. 58-96. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198816225.001.0001
Joel West, “Open Source Platforms Beyond Software: From ICT to Biotechnology,” in Jeffrey Furman, Annabelle Gawer, Brian S. Silverman, and Scott Stern, eds. Advances in Strategic Management 37, 2017, pp. 337-368. DOI: 10.1108/S0742-332220170000037011
Christopher L. Tucci, Henry Chesbrough, Frank Piller, and Joel West, “When do firms undertake open, collaborative activities?” Industrial & Corporate Change, 25, 2 (April 2016): 283-288. DOI: 10.1093/icc/dtw002
Joel West and George Kuk, “The complementarity of openness: How MakerBot leveraged Thingiverse in 3D printing,” Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 102 (Jan. 2016): 169-181. DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2015.07.025
Marcus Perkmann and Joel West, “Open Science and Open Innovation: Sourcing Knowledge from Universities,” in Albert N. Link, Donald S. Siegel, and Mike Wright, eds., Chicago Handbook of University Technology Transfer and Academic Entrepreneurship, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015, pp. 41-74.
Joel West and Marcel Bogers, “Leveraging External Sources of Innovation: A Review of Research on Open Innovation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31, 4 (July 2014): 814-831. DOI: 10.1111/jpim.12125
Joel West, “Open Innovation: Learning from Alliance Research,” in Refik Culpan, editor, Open Innovation Through Strategic Alliances,New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014, pp. 1-16.
Mary Walshok and Joel West, “Serendipity and Symbiosis: UCSD and the Local Wireless Industry,” in Martin Kenney and David Mowery, eds., Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014, pp. 127-152.
Henry Chesbrough, Wim Vanhaverbeke and Joel West, eds., New Frontiers in Open Innovation, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
Joel West and David Wood, “Evolving an Open Ecosystem: The Rise and Fall of the Symbian Platform,” in Ron Adner, Joanne Oxley and Brian Silverman, eds., Advances in Strategic Management, Volume 30, 2013, pp. 27-68. DOI: 10.1108/S0742-3322(2013)0000030005.
In his research, Dr. West examines how firms utilize interorganizational cooperation to exploit the opportunities created by technological change in high-tech industries. He is particularly interested in how technology-based firms combine open and proprietary strategies to create and capture value, with an emphasis on innovation networks such as innovation communities and ecosystems. He has examined a wide range of empirical phenomena, including pharmaceutical R&D, open source biology, 3D printing, renewable energy, mobile phone platforms, open source software and open standards.
One major area of research is in open innovation, which is when firms use markets (rather than internal administrative hierarchies) to source or commercialize innovations. He is one of the world’s most cited researchers on open innovation, due to two edited volumes on open innovation (Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm and New Frontiers in Open Innovation, both from Oxford University Press), as well as special issues of two leading innovation journals and several review articles. His particular interest here is the paradox of how firms use openness as a source of competitive advantage, including papers in Strategic Management Journal (Alexy, West, Klapper & Reitzig, 2018), R&D Management (West & Gallagher, 2006) and Research Policy (West, 2003).
This overlaps a second research area, how firms practice coopetition in business ecosystems and other multilateral inter-organizational value networks. In these, firms work cooperatively to create value from their joint efforts, while continuing to compete as each seeks to capture value from their shared and individual efforts. This research has examined multilateral cooperation in consortia (Olk & West, 2019), platforms (West, 2017; West, 2014; West & Mace, 2010; West & Dedrick, 2006), ecosystems (West & Wood, 2013), and communities (West & Sims, 2018; West & O’Mahony, 2008; West & Lakhani, 2008).
Finally, his research on technology entrepreneurship examines how firms leverage external technologies and other resources for market entry. This includes how firms leverage community technology (Greul et al, 2018) and basic science (West, 2008). In parallel, he also documented how startups are affected by a university-anchored regional ecosystem (Walshok & West, 2014) and the constraints of investor-customers (West, 2014).
Before entering academia, he worked for more than 20 years in computer software, as an entrepreneur, the author of a computer programming book, and the co-inventor of ModSim, a programming language for discrete-event simulation suitable for concurrent multiprocessing. He has also contributed to research from the Martchenko lab at KGI on host-based therapies for deadly infectious diseases.
With Paul Olk of Denver University, from 2015-2019 he was principal investigator of a grant from the National Science Foundation, Science of Science Innovation Policy program. The project, entitled “Open R&D Consortia: Open Innovation Alliances in the Pharmaceutical Industry,” gathered interview and archival data to examine more than 45 R&D consortia in the biomedical sector, including 141 that included two or more of the 30 largest global pharmaceutical companies. Earlier research was funded by the State of California and Sun Microsystems.