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In Search of Problems Worth Solving - Exploring the Management of External Knowledge to Build Innovation Capabilities in a Medical Device Company
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6056-5172
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.
2012 (English)In: IFKAD - KCWS 2012: 7th International Forum On Knowledge Asset Dynamics, 5th Knowledge Cities World Summit: Knowledge, Innovation And Sustainability: Integrating Micro & Macro Perspectives / [ed] Schiuma, G; Spender, JC; Yigitcanlar, T, 2012, 2455-2487 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose - In this paper, the implementation and use of a systematic and collaborative approach for environmental scanning to support the identification and analysis of opportunities for radical and incremental innovation is described and analysed. Experiences and observations from a single case study, conducted in an R&D organization in an international medical device company during two years forms the basis for the study. The study contributes to the body of innovation management literature by providing empirical data on how companies are organizing work to systematically acquire and use information about events and trends in the external environment defined as environmental scanning as means for building innovation capabilities in practice. Design/methodology/approach - During 2009-2011 an empirical investigation at an R&D unit composed of 200 employees at a Swedish site in an international medical device company, known as a market and pioneering leader was conducted. A qualitative evaluation and analysis was utilized using the gathering of relevant data from specified documents and surveys, compilation of databases in use for external information search, observations during formal meetings and semi-structured interviews with individuals representing different departments and hierarchical levels to collect substantive and relevant data. Originality/value - This study provide rich multi-level longitudinal empirical data and addresses the current gap in research on how firms are working to create new knowledge improve based on external information and knowledge as means to build innovation capabilities in practice. It specifically contributes to the need to better understand how firms build capabilities to identify opportunities and problems in the early phases of product innovation when aiming to generate both radical and incremental innovations. Practical implications - The selection of direction and scope of search, the design and implementation of the scanning process and IT tools, the mechanisms needed to integrate different hierarchical levels and functions to identify new ideas and strategy implications are found to be factors critical to manage. The result from the study points to the importance of balancing the degree of formalization in the process in order to motivate different individuals and to create learning and innovation outcomes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. 2455-2487 p.
Keyword [en]
Innovation Management, Environmental scanning, R&D management, Radical and incremental innovation
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-118571ISI: 000313556000126ISBN: 978-88-96687-08-6OAI: diva2:606886
7th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics (IFKAD) / 5th Knowledge Cities World Summit (KCWs), Matera, ITALY, JUN 13-15, 2012

QC 20130221

Available from: 2013-02-21 Created: 2013-02-21 Last updated: 2013-02-21Bibliographically approved

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