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Many organizations have established dedicated units to support their innovation activities, but their roles and responsibilities, and their evolution, vary widely and are not well understood. Drawing on the context of the International Organizations that have recently established innovation units to address the “grand challenges”, our research explores the value adding role of innovation units in International Organizations. The results of our longitudinal qualitative study in four organizations show that innovation units pursue two distinct boundary spanning activities: either externally facing activities aimed at translating and transforming external ideas to fit their organization; or internally facing activities that aim to mediate information flows within the organization. We also find that units oscillate between externally and internally facing activities which changes their centrality in the organization.
Initiating Problem-solving Communications in Formal and Informal Organizations
This paper looks at both formal and informal organization structures and their joint effect on interpersonal interactions in the innovation process, specifically when help-seeking during problem-solving. Due to functional benefits of formal hierarchy, individuals will more likely consult with others relatively higher than lower in the formal hierarchy. Moreover, due to individuals’ motivation to have others think highly of them and to not be seen as incompetent, the likelihood of consulting with others relatively higher in the formal hierarchy will be even more likely if those others are relatively lower in the informal hierarchy. In contrast, the likelihood of consulting with others relatively lower in the formal hierarchy will be even more likely if those others are relatively higher in the informal hierarchy.
Capturing Value By Design
University of Technology Sydney Dmitry Sharapov,
Imperial College London
Firms can capture value from innovation by restricting the mobility of knowledge required for imitation (Liebeskind, 1996; Rumelt, 1984). The design choices firms make about the manifestation of knowledge (e.g., into a map, blueprint, software) can influence the awareness, motivation and capability a counterparty requires to imitate an innovation (Sharapov & MacAulay, 2019). We contribute to this emerging stream of literature by using a comparative case study approach to abductively explore the pathways through which design decisions generate Ricardian rents. By doing so, we hope to expand the literature on mechanisms for capturing value from innovation (James, Leiblein, and Lu, 2013; Teece, 1986) and provide new tools for managers executing innovation strategy.
The Effect of Asset Ownership on Project Selection: Evidence from 1970’s Television
This paper studies the effect of an ownership regulation introduced to the US broadcast television industry. The regulation forced the television networks sell any ownership in shows prior to broadcast. This paper shows the restriction changed the funding of television shows in a manner consistent with contracting models of asset ownership. Contemporaneously, the genre of new television shows ordered by the networks changed, suggesting the ownership restriction affected the types of television shows brought to market. These results imply allocation of asset ownership not only optimizes payoffs for the projects selected for execution by firms but also endogenously determines the selection of projects. Implications of these results include designing policies to influence the direction of innovation.