Title: Collaborative innovation networks, virtual communities and geographical clustering

Authors: Marco De Maggio, Peter A. Gloor, Giuseppina Passiante

Addresses: University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy. ' Center for Collective Intelligence, Sloan School of Management – MIT Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. ' Department of Innovation Engineering, University of Salento, 3100 Lecce, Italy

Abstract: This paper describes the emergence of collaborative knowledge networks (CKNs), distributed communities taking advantage of the wide connectivity and the support of communication technologies, spanning beyond the organisational perimeter of companies on a global scale. CKNs are made up of groups of self-motivated individuals, linked by the idea of something new and exciting and by the common goal of improving existing business practices, new products or services for which they see a real need. Their strength is related to their ability to activate creative collaboration, knowledge sharing and social networking mechanisms, affecting positively individual capabilities and organisations| performance. We describe the case of a global consulting community to highlight the cultural and structural aspects of this phenomenon. Our case study also illustrates the composition of the CKN ecosystem, which are made up by a combination of collaborative innovation, learning and interest networks. Empirical evidence suggests physical proximity as a supporting success factor of such communities, depending on the capital and knowledge intensity of the target industry.

Keywords: collaborative knowledge networks; CKNs; virtual communities; collaborative technologies; knowledge sharing; social networking; geographical clustering; physical proximity; innovation networks; web based communities; online communities; distributed communities; learning networks; interest networks.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIRD.2009.022729

International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, 2009 Vol.1 No.4, pp.387 - 404

Published online: 25 Jan 2009 *

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