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Complexity, networks and learning: integrative themes for research on innovation management

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 22:40 authored by Joseph Tidd
Research on the management of innovation has been highly fragmented, and to a large extent non-cumulative. Much of the research has been conducted within three separate disciplines, with relatively little overlap or interaction: the management of research and development or technology; new product development and marketing; and organisational development and change. In this paper, we identify a number of emergent themes which have the potential to integrate these diverse streams of research, and result in a more comprehensive model of the innovation process: complexity, networks and learning. We argue that the innovation process is inherently complex, and therefore we need better characterisations of the technological, market and organisational contingencies which affect the opportunity for innovation. With growing complexity, the focus shifts from competencies based on internal assets such as R&D activities and intellectual property, to the position of a firm within an innovation network and competencies based on its relationships with other organisations. Finally, too much research has been pre-occupied with how firms develop and exploit narrow competencies based on prior experience, rather than how firms acquire new competencies. A focus on organisational learning may provide a richer explanation of the organisational factors which affect the acquisition of new technological and market knowledge.


Publication status

  • Published


International Journal of Innovation Management




World Scientific Publishing





Page range


Department affiliated with

  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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