Title: 'Exploration' in the open innovation front-end: the role of technologies

Authors: Sabine Brunswicker; Ulrich Hutschek; Lena Wagner

Addresses: Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, Nobelstraße 12, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany. ' Zeppelin University/eftek - Zentrum Technologiemanagement, Am Seemooser Horn 20, 88045 Friedrichshafen, Germany. ' Graduate School of Excellence advanced Manufacturing Engineering (GSaME) Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, Nobelstraße 12, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract: The burgeoning discussion in open and collaborative innovation has revitalised firms' interest in purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge. This questions our understanding of 'explorative innovation' and the role of technologies in explorative innovation search. This paper aims to enhance our conceptual understanding of 'explorative' innovation strategies. On the basis of a systematic literature review, we synthesise the existing literature on explorative innovation. We identify six groups of conceptualisations that reflect the diverse perspective towards explorative innovation. These groups differ in terms of the level of analysis, the dominating theoretical perspectives, the underlying dimensions describing how firms explore and search, and the relevance of external and internal conditioning factors. Overall, we found that the role of technology in explorative search varies, and has slightly changed over time. We propose a multidimensional perspective towards exploration. We highlight that technologies may serve a range of functions in the firm's business model.

Keywords: explorative innovation; exploitative innovation; innovation front-end; open innovation; role of technology; literature review; collaborative innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTIP.2012.047374

International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning, 2012 Vol.8 No.1, pp.1 - 15

Available online: 17 Jun 2012 *

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