Title: Applying the hub-and-spoke model to virtual communities: the IBM innovation approach

Authors: Maria Cristina Longo; Sonia Caterina Giaccone; Francesco Garraffo

Addresses: University of Catania, 55 Corso Italia, 95129 Catania, Italy ' University of Catania, 55 Corso Italia, 95129 Catania, Italy ' University of Catania, 55 Corso Italia, 95129 Catania, Italy

Abstract: This paper aims to analyse the contribution of virtual communities in fostering innovation process by aggregating into an innovation-hub. Acting as centre of knowledge integration and value creation, the innovation-hub is a meta-organisation, parallel to the traditional R&D labs. We believe that this innovation system operates according to a hub-and-spoke model in which employees communicate informally on the web and openly collaborate on innovation to strengthen the firm competitiveness. Despite its strategic role, relatively little is known about the hub's effectiveness in supporting innovation process, connectivity, operational and motivational mechanisms. In order to gain insights to build a theory, we study in-depth the case of IBM innovation-hub and define some propositions. The research contributes to fill the theoretical gap related to the hub model and to provide suggestions for managers about innovation strategies, by maximising the value created by the innovation-hub.

Keywords: virtual communities; innovation hub; ideas generation; knowledge sharing; IBM; open collaboration; operational mechanisms; motivational mechanisms; technology platforms; hub-and-spoke model; online communities; web based communities; knowledge integration; value creation; informal communication; connectivity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2013.054077

International Journal of Technology Marketing, 2013 Vol.8 No.2, pp.142 - 158

Received: 21 Jul 2012
Accepted: 29 Jan 2013

Published online: 28 Feb 2014 *

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