Seeking Speed: Managing the Search for Knowledge to Innovate Faster
School of Science | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2020-12-17
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Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 195/2020
AbstractThis dissertation examines the phenomenon of innovation by organizations, and in particular the determinants of the speed of innovation that firms achieve. Innovation has increasingly become a central part of of the competitive strategy for firms, both in response to competitive opportunities, but also as a primary means for survival and adaptation in rapidly changing industry environments. Due to the emergence and spread of time-based competition between firms, the speed by which a firm can innovate has become a crucial element of competitive success.The existing strategic management literature on innovation has primarily focused on technological search, inter-organizational network relationships, and inbound open innovation practices as key determinants of firms' ability to innovate, but largely overlooked any potential temporal effects of these innovation antecedents. However, the organizational learning literature as well as central arguments from the knowledge- and attention-based views of the firm suggest that these determinants likely also impact the innovation speed performance of firms. I address this gap through three essays that empirically test theoretical models derived from connecting the literatures on technological search, inter-organizational and geographic networks, and open innovation, respectively, to the literature on innovation speed. The first essay examines the impact of the breadth and depth of technological search, as well as their synergy, on the speed of innovation on the project-level. The findings suggest that combining broad and deep technological search on the innovation-level promotes innovation speed, and that this effect is even stronger when the underlying technology is more radical. The second essay studies the role of the geographic balance of the inter-organizational collaborations during the innovation processes of new ventures, in affecting the speed by which their innovations are internationalized. The results show that more evenly balanced networks of local and foreign collaboration partners are conducive to the speed of internationalization of innovations for new ventures, and that this relationship is stronger for more complex innovation as well as in settings characterized by higher industry clockspeed. The third essay tests whether openness of innovation in terms of the breadth of external collaboration promotes innovation speed. The findings suggest that, generally, this aspect of open innovation is negatively related to innovation speed, calling received wisdom into question. However, the results do lend limited support for this thesis in the context of highly complex innovation, by reducing the prolonging effects of innovation development complexity on innovation speed.
Supervising professorMaula, Markku V.J., Prof., Aalto University, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Finland
innovation speed, technological search, geographical networks, open innovation, inter-organizational collaboration
- [Publication 1]: Patel, Pankaj C.; van der Have, Robert P. 2012. Devil of a Time: How Technological Radicalness matters for the effects of Search Strategies on Innovations’ time to market
[Publication 2]: Patel, Pankaj C.; Fernhaber, Stephanie A.; McDougall-Covin, Patricia P.; van der Have, Robert P. 2014. Beating Competitors to International Markets: The Value of Geographically Balanced Networks for Innovation. Strategic Management Journal, volume 35, pages 691-711.
DOI: 10.1002/smj.2114 View at publisher
- [Publication 3]: van der Have, Robert P. 2019. When is openness faster? How breadth in external collaboration and complexity affect firms’ speed of innovation. 41 pages. Working Paper