Title: Enabling innovation in knowledge worker teams

Authors: Aino Kianto

Addresses: School of Business, Lappeenranta University of Technology, P.O. Box 20, FI-53851, Lappeenranta, Finland

Abstract: Innovation and knowledge creation are processes, which require intensive collaboration of several people. Nevertheless, the constituents of successful collaboration in innovation activities are not well-known, and the understanding of the inherently social processes by which new intangibles are created is still in its infancy. This paper examines the key facilitators of innovation in knowledge-intensive group-level collaboration based on empirical evidence. The results demonstrate that social factors are highly influential for knowledge worker teams| ability to produce innovations. Teams whose internal processes were characterised by trust, vision, aim for excellence, participative safety and support for innovation were likely to attain high levels of innovation. Team diversity based on highly visible attributes was found to be negatively related with team innovation. Surprisingly, also external collaboration seemed to affect team innovation outcomes negatively, except for when it was aimed at general scanning for ideas and information. In addition, the differences between the more and the less innovative teams arose mainly from differences in their internal interaction processes, rather than patterns of collaboration with people outside the team.

Keywords: teams; groups; innovation; knowledge creation; knowledge workers; networks; collaboration; social factors; trust; vision; excellence; participative safety; innovation support; team diversity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLIC.2011.037357

International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, 2011 Vol.8 No.1, pp.30 - 49

Published online: 27 Nov 2014 *

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