Innovation remains the lifeblood of today's organizations. With the increasing pace of business and shorter product life cycles, organizations are turning to new open innovation models and knowledge acquisition methods (KAMs) to access rich sources of expert knowledge and new resources beyond the traditional boundaries of the R&D functions. Firms look to develop and use KAMs and new capabilities that will contribute to their innovation objectives and competitive differentiation.
While earlier research demonstrated the benefits of external market knowledge and collaboration on firm performance, studies have focused largely on the firm-level dynamics of co-creation of innovation activity. To date, little research has explored the elements of knowledge acquisition methods, the complexities of inter-firm and intra-firm co-creation interaction and processes, and the role that knowledge and firm capabilities play in collaborative innovation performance. There have been calls for new research towards filling this gap.
This study examines the role of knowledge acquisition methods on co-creation of innovation and its impact on collaborative innovation performance. Through a cross-discipline theoretical lens (i.e., open innovation, co-creation of innovation, dynamic capabilities, knowledge management), an exploratory comparative cross-case analysis was conducted examining a First-of-a-Kind (FoaK) collaborative innovation program and performance across five co-creation of analytics innovation initiatives. This study is the first to apply a dynamic capabilities perspective, examining the role of knowledge capacities across the collaborative innovation process, and investigating the role of the KAM as a higher-order integrative dynamic capability.
Findings from this research answer the call for greater insight into the inner workings and complexity of co-creation of innovation, detailing the observed indirect impact of the KAM on innovation performance. New initiative-level evidence describes the role of the KAM, stakeholder engagement, and the interaction of collaboration processes within and across the boundaries of the firm. In addition to highlighting the role of knowledge-based dynamic capabilities, the findings suggest that the development of knowledge capacities is multi-tiered across levels of the KAM program, initiatives, and the resource pool. The study presents first evidence that the knowledge acquisition method serves as a higher-order dynamic capability with its primary role being that of co-creation "orchestration."