Organizing for Innovation: How Team Configurations Vary with Modularity and Breadth of Application

76 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2020

See all articles by Keyvan Vakili

Keyvan Vakili

London Business School

Sarah Kaplan

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Date Written: December 25, 2019

Abstract

While innovation has increasingly become a collaborative effort, there is little consensus in research about what types of team configurations might be the most useful for creating breakthrough innovations. Do teams need to include inventors with knowledge breadth for recombination or do they need inventors with knowledge depth for identifying anomalies? Do teams need overlapping knowledge to integrate insights from diverse areas or does this redundancy hamper innovation by creating inefficiencies? In this paper, we suggest that the answers to these questions depend on the characteristics of the technologies, which explains why prior evidence based on single domains or that aggregates all technologies have yielded inconclusive findings. Focusing on the degree of modularity and the breadth of application in patent data, we find that differing team configurations are associated with different technological domains.

Keywords: breakthrough innovation, team configuration, recombination, modularity, general purpose technologies, knowledge, patents

Suggested Citation

Vakili, Keyvan and Kaplan, Sarah, Organizing for Innovation: How Team Configurations Vary with Modularity and Breadth of Application (December 25, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3509461 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3509461

Keyvan Vakili (Contact Author)

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Sarah Kaplan

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

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