The differentiated impacts of organizational innovation practices on technological innovation persistence

European Journal of Innovation Management, Volume 18, Issue 1, January 2015.

Purpose This article tests the major determinants of technological (product and process) innovation persistence and provides evidence of the significant role of organizational innovation. Design/methodology/approach Data came from two waves of the Luxembourg Community Innovation Survey (CIS): CIS2006 for 2004–2006 and CIS2008 for 2006–2008. The longitudinal data set resulted in a final sample of 287 firms. A multinomial probit model estimates the likelihood that each firm belongs to one of three longitudinal innovation profiles: no, sporadic, or persistent innovators. Findings The determinants have differentiated impacts on process and technological innovation persistence. Organizational innovation influences technological innovation persistence. In the analysis of detailed organizational practices, strong evidence emerged that knowledge management exerts a crucial effect on product innovation persistence; workplace organization instead is associated with process innovation persistence. Research limitations/implications The relationships of innovation persistence, organizational innovation, and firms’ economic performance demand further exploration. The different persistence patterns of complex (process and product) and simple (process or product) innovators also are worth investigating. Practical implications Organizational innovation matters for technological innovation persistence. However, the effects of non-technological innovation differ depending on whether the firm wants to innovate in processes or products. Managers must acknowledge these various effects and select appropriate strategies. Originality/value Few works account for the impact of organizational innovation strategies on technological innovation. This study is the first, based on recent CIS data, to address the role of organizational innovation practices for technological innovation persistence, which appears necessary for the sustainable dynamics of firms, industries, and regions.
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Balancing diversity in innovation networks: trading zones in university-industry R&D collaboration

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European Journal of Innovation Management, Volume 18, Issue 1, January 2015.

Purpose Although the potential of innovation networks that involve both university and industry actors is great variances in cultures, goals and knowledge poses significant challenges. To better understand management of such innovation networks, we investigate different strategies for balancing diversity. Design/methodology/approach In this multiple case study, we draw on network and trading zone theory to examine the strategies of four research centers that govern university-industry innovation networks. Findings We (1) provide empirically grounded descriptions of strategies for balancing diversity in innovation processes, (2) extend previous theorizations by suggesting two types of trading zones (transformative and performative), and, (3) identify four strategy configuration dimensions (means of knowledge trade, tie configuration, knowledge mobility mechanisms and types of trust). Research limitations/implications Further research is needed on transferability of results when e.g. cultural collaboration and communication patterns change, and, performance implications of different configurations. Our research provides conceptual tools for future research on the impact of different diversity strategies. Practical implications Our findings point to the importance of identifying desired types of innovation outcomes and designing the appropriate level of diversity. To implement the selected strategy, managers need to configure communication channels and strength of relationships, establish associated capacity for knowledge transfer and build appropriate levels of trust. Originality/value While extant research has provided a solid understanding of benefits from diversity in boundary spanning innovation processes, this paper outlines strategies for managing associated challenges.
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Innovation education programs: toward a conceptual framework

Abstract

Purpose – Innovation education has been identified as a key contributor to enhancing the innovative behavior of individuals, organizations and economies; yet very little literature exists on the development and assessment of innovation education programs (IEPs). This is particularly so in the higher education and vocational education domains. The purpose of this paper is to bridge the gap in the literature, by proposing a conceptual framework of a multi-dimensional IEP. Design/methodology/approach – The paper employs a transparent and reproducible procedure and critical appraisal of the literature; coupled with emergent inquiry and case study implementation of a leading international IEP. Findings – The study provides a framework by which innovation education facilitators may develop and evaluate their IEPs. The proposed framework provides a thematic appreciation of the multi-dimensional relationships between components. Research limitations/implications – Limited within the context of this case study, geographical context and scant literature on IEPs and reproducible procedure. Originality/value – The study provides a conceptual innovation education framework, based upon a successful international innovation management program.
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Enabling collaborative innovation – knowledge protection for knowledge sharing

Abstract

Purpose – Collaboration for research and development (R&D) and innovation among various organizations can be beneficial and in some cases even imperative, but in order to realise the potential, effective management is required. Effective innovation requires firms to share their core knowledge, and simultaneously make sure that they will not lose their core knowledge and future competitive advantage. In line with this, this study aims to clarify the role of knowledge protection in relation to collaborative innovation endeavours.

Design/methodology/approach – This study approaches the knowledge protection and knowledge sharing issues through a literature review and subsequent empirical analysis of 242 Finnish companies.

Findings – The results indicate that when a firm has put effort in getting strong protection at its disposal, sharing knowledge with varying partners is more likely, which, in turn, improves innovation performance of the firm. It is not just about the strength of protection, but also – and even more importantly – using it efficiently that counts.

Research limitations/implications – The data are collected from one country only, with its specific features, and thus further research might reveal more on the studied phenomenon. Also utilising more detailed measures might reveal more.

Practical implications – This study augments both theoretical and managerial perspectives as it discusses a variety of protection mechanisms. In particular, it offers managers a new way of approaching the means of knowledge protection for innovation-related collaboration.

Originality/value – This study shows that a wide range of knowledge protection mechanisms can be relied on, and that strategic use of these mechanisms improves knowledge sharing and innovation performance.
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An organizational competence model for innovation intermediaries

Abstract

Purpose – This paper addresses the role of intermediaries in open innovation networks in achieving ICT
enabled innovations. The ultimate goal of open innovation networks is to create value for endusers and providers, and to share the risks and rewards. The aim of this paper is to analyse the
competences that intermediaries in open innovation networks need to master and exploit
during the exploration and exploitation phases of an innovation process. Design/methodology/approach – Based on fourteen cases, all of which are examples of collaborative multi-party projects with a
focus on ICT-enabled innovations, we inductively develop a competence model for
intermediaries that can be applied at different stages in the innovation. Findings – Our research shows that intermediaries can play an effective role in open innovation, provided
they have the right set of competences. it can be concluded that the role of innovation intermediary is most relevant in the creation and development phases.Research limitations/implications – This study certainly has its limitations. The researchers were involved in several cases, which may have biased their views, even though an external expert who was familiar with the case and the work of the intermediary was involved to minimize the risk. Most importantly, the cases all involved of a single intermediary, albeit with many different private and public partners. The cases were primarily located in the Netherlands. It would be interesting to complement this study with results from other innovation intermediaries.Practical implications – We identified which competences of organizations in innovation are required, and how to balance the competences between the different partners, including the innovation intermediary. The study allows to link the type of goal of the collaboration to a number of best practices, including the competences and roles that are required at different stages.Originality/value – We combine the core innovation competences with the innovation value chain concept
developed, and evaluate the resulting model in fourteen different cases. The model is new and
relevant in practice.
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Integrating risk management in the innovation project

Abstract

Purpose – While innovation has many similarities to other forms of projects it is characterised by a high failure rate and the need to stimulate creativity. More explicit risk management could help in achieving success in innovation projects. However, too much or inappropriate risk management might stifle the creativity that is core to innovation. So, what project risk management should be applied and where in the innovation project?Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical framework is proposed which combines the generic innovation process with project risk management. The framework was used to analyse the current attitudes to managing innovation risk in a series of companies.Findings – The decision points of the stage-gate innovation process model provide an effective interface for incorporating project risk concepts. The general concepts appear most relevant to innovation management though it is useful to customise them to emphasise the particular characteristics of innovation projects. The experience of using the resultant combined model in a number of diverse case studies indicates the relevance of the model in understanding attitudes towards risk management in innovation. The analysis of the case study companies suggested that risk management needs to be applied in differential manner: simple, unobtrusive techniques early in the innovation life cycle with more substantial, quantitative methods being considered for later stages.Research limitations/implications – It would be useful to extend this research by examining more case studies from other countries and industries.Practical implications – The combined innovation and risk management model provides a framework that diverse companies can appreciate. The framework offers a basis for discussing the most appropriate form of risk management in different innovation based industries.Originality/value – Although there are many separate models for innovation and project risk management described in the literature, there is very little discussion about explicitly combining these theories. This paper aims to help fill this gap in the knowledge.
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Product innovation processes and the trade-off between product innovation performance and business performance

Abstract

Purpose – This paper is concerned with the management and organization of product innovation processes, and how innovation performance relates to business performance. The underlying rationale is that encouraging firms to innovate will lead to a better business performance. Design/methodology/approach – This study leverages a data-set of 99 medium-sized technology firms in Sweden. The first part of our analysis in this study aims at finding determinants of product innovation processes, and the second part is the analysis and trade-off between innovation performance and business performance. First, a research framework is developed in which the link between strategic dimensions, process dimensions, and organizational dimensions of product innovation activity and product innovation performance is tested. Second, the research framework tests the relationship between innovation performance and business performance (sales and profitability).Findings – Product innovation performance (patent) is affected by seven variables of the 14 variables that represent product innovation processes. Product innovation performance is not affected by firm size, firm age, branch, and product life cycles and, in the regression model, all three innovation performance variables (patents, copyrights and licenses) have a positive effect on the firm´s sales, but there were no connections to the firm´s profitability. Originality/value – The main implication of the study is the idea supporting a multi-aspects approach to the product innovation processes and performance since product innovation process dimensions (variables used in the study) have only partial influence on innovation-/business performance.
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