Title: At the core of innovation: network reconfiguration during radical and incremental innovation episodes in an open source software project

Authors: Guido Conaldi, Riccardo De Vita

Addresses: Institute of Management, University of Lugano, Via Giuseppe Buffi, 13, CH-6904 Lugano, Switzerland. ' University of Greenwich Business School, Department of International Business and Economics, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9LS, UK

Abstract: Innovation is crucial for competitive advantage of firms. The innovation model adopted by open source software projects has therefore attracted the attention of several managers. Consequently, private firms are increasingly supporting open source communities. However, the heterogeneous results obtained by open source software projects call for a deeper understanding of the organisational factors sustaining the innovativeness of these communities. We contribute to fill this gap through a case study that investigates which knowledge networks connecting developers inside open source communities support radical and incremental innovation. Our findings show that two distinguishable network configurations are associated with the two types of innovation. Particularly the presence of a single core of knowledge interaction involving the developers actually implementing the innovative code appears to be a requirement for radical innovation.

Keywords: radical innovation; incremental innovation; open source software; OSS; social network analysis; network reconfiguration; knowledge networks.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIDS.2011.038838

International Journal of Information and Decision Sciences, 2011 Vol.3 No.1, pp.5 - 25

Published online: 04 Mar 2011 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article