Gaining leverage effects from knowledge modes within corporate incubators

Authors: Becker, Barbara1; Gassmann, Oliver2

Source: R&D Management, Volume 36, Number 1, January 2006 , pp. 1-16(16)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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This paper analyzes the kind of knowledge that facilitates hatching and leveraging of technologies through the incubation process. Four corporate incubator types can be distinguished according to their source and type of technology: fast-profit incubators, market incubators, leveraging incubators, and in-sourcing incubators. Applying the knowledge-based view of the firm, four modes of mainly tacit knowledge were identified in respect to the different incubator types: (1) entrepreneurial knowledge, (2) organizational knowledge, (3) technological knowledge, and (4) complementary market knowledge. Knowledge strategies include both the leveraging of internal knowledge as well as the in-sourcing of external knowledge for the firm through the corporate incubator. The research is based on an analysis of a European Commission dataset from a benchmarking survey of 77 incubators as well as 52 interviews in 25 large technology-driven corporations in Europe and the United States.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: McKinsey & Company Inc., Prinzregentenstrasse 22, D-80538, Munich, Germany , Email: 2: University of St. Gallen, Institute of Technology Management, Dufourstrasse 40a, CH-9000, St. Gallen, Switzerland , Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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