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Global network configuration for innovation: a study of international fibre innovation

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This paper develops and empirically investigates the notion of network configuration for innovation. In many industries, firms are increasingly locked into a state of network innovation. Innovation, in such contexts, is often driven by those firms who configure the network to access and control critical innovation knowledge widely dispersed throughout the network. The paper presents the findings of an in-depth study of the evolution of three innovation networks in the global fibre industry. The mechanisms by which firms configure extended networks throughout the innovation processes are unravelled and discussed. A typology of three configuration types derived from the finding is forwarded. The findings suggest that successful innovation network configuration involves recognising where the innovation value resides in the network and developing capabilities and mechanisms to understand and access such value. However, this is problematic for firms embedded in their own base of knowledge and patterns of relationships. Specific managerial implications and suggestions for future research are forwarded.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Booth St. West, Manchester, M15 6PB, UK , Email: 2: Northwest Textile Network, PO Box 295, Newtown Mill, Lees Street, Pendlebury, Swinton, Manchester, M27 6WS, UK., Email:

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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