Open Innovation and Organizational Boundaries: The Impact of Task Decomposition and Knowledge Distribution on the Locus of Innovation
Harvard Business School - Technology and Operations Management Group; Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society; Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Hila Lifshitz - Assaf
Harvard Business School
Harvard University - Organizational Behavior Unit
May 2, 2012
Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 12-57
Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit Working Paper No. 12-057
This paper contrasts traditional, organization-centered models of innovation with more recent work on open innovation. These fundamentally different and inconsistent innovation logics are associated with contrasting organizational boundaries and organizational designs. We suggest that when critical tasks can be modularized and when problem-solving knowledge is widely distributed and available, open innovation complements traditional innovation logics. We induce these ideas from the literature and with extended examples from Apple, NASA, and LEGO. We suggest that task decomposition and problem-solving knowledge distribution are not deterministic but are strategic choices. If dynamic capabilities are associated with innovation streams, and if different innovation types are rooted in contrasting innovation logics, there are important implications for firm boundaries, design, and identity.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42working papers series
Date posted: January 8, 2012 ; Last revised: May 5, 2012
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