Title: Knowledge exploitation in innovation networks: the perspective of the knowledge source

Authors: Ulrich Lichtenthaler

Addresses: WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Chair for Technology and Innovation Management, Burgplatz 2, D-56179 Vallendar, Germany

Abstract: The Network-based Exploitation of Technological knowledge (NET) refers to the commercialisation of disembodied technological knowledge, e.g. by means of out-licensing, exclusively or in addition to its application in own products of a firm. While some pioneering companies have recently derived enormous benefits from leveraging knowledge assets in innovation networks, most other firms experience major managerial difficulties in commercialising knowledge assets in networks. Over the past years, a major increase in NET could be observed despite these managerial challenges. To balance the focus of prior research on internal knowledge application, this paper focuses on NET as a complementary mode of knowledge exploitation. Drawing on a thorough literature analysis, the particular characteristics of leveraging technological knowledge in innovation networks are detailed. Then, the monetary and strategic motives for NET are examined. On this basis, an integrative strategic approach to knowledge exploitation is developed, which contributes to explaining interfirm differences regarding enormous benefits vs. major managerial difficulties in NET. Integrative approach is essential because of the strong interdependencies and potential synergies between internal and external knowledge exploitation. The implications of our analysis for research and practice are discussed, and suggestions for further research are presented.

Keywords: knowledge exploitation; knowledge transfer; technology transfer; licensing; innovation networks; technological knowledge; technology commercialisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFIP.2008.017580

International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, 2008 Vol.4 No.3/4, pp.265 - 286

Published online: 18 Mar 2008 *

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