Open innovation paradigm as a new challenge for knowledge management (KM) and KM strategy



Aims and Scope of the Special Issue Open innovation (OI) is considered as a new paradigm that introduces many changes for the management of innovation (Chesbrough, 2003). It implies that firms seek to combine external and internal knowledge in order to develop new ideas and accelerate the development of innovations. OI can take various forms such as crowdsourcing platforms (Schemmann et al. 2016), new models of collaboration between large companies and startups (Weiblen and Chesbrough, 2015; Pustovrh et al., 2020), creative communities (Schmidt and Brinks, 2017), co-creation processes with users and artists (Ivanova, 2014).

OI strategies are considered as essential for grasping new opportunities when the knowledge-base is diversified and complex (Bogers et al., 2017). The academic literature has investigated several implications of the introduction of OI paradigm. This includes the requirement of large organizational transformations and new individual and collective practices and competences (Bogers and Foss, 2018). Even so, OI introduces new strategy logics such as open strategy (Chesbrough and Appleyard, 2007) and involves dynamics at the network level. It makes the boundaries of ecosystems uncertain and interdependencies among actors less stable than in the context of closed innovation paradigm (Baldwin et al., 2022).

At the end, OI induces the emergence of new model of innovation such as innovation commons (Potts, 2018; Cohendet, 2022). Brokers and intermediaries are central for the management of the ecosystem dynamics (e.g. traditional actors like science parks and technology transfer offices) in OI (Clayton et al., 2018; Germain et al., 2022; Merindol et al. 2023). Other examples are new actors that contribute to the development of innovative communities and network activities. They offer the opportunities to bring in entrepreneurs, large companies, public institutions and citizens.

These new actors are often called open labs (Merindol and Versailles, 2023) and encompasses numerous agile organizations such as incubators, makerspaces, fab labs, and coworking spaces. Considering the intertwining nature between innovation and knowledge, organizational knowledge represents key assets for the competitiveness of the firms and the wider ecosystems (Grant, 1996; Alavi and Leidner, 2001). In the context of OI, the opportunities of access to diversified and unrelated knowledge represent a new challenge for deploying effective KM strategies (Natalicchio et al., 2017; Wu and Hu, 2018). This strategic KM challenge is amplified by the development of the digital technologies that are often located at various levels of organisations.

Existing literature suggest that there exist several taxonomies of knowledge (Nonaka et al., 1995; Nickerson and Zenger 2004; Alavi and Leidner 2001; Venkitachalam and 2 Busch 2012): tacit and explicit knowledge, automatic and conscious knowledge, declarative and procedural knowledge, embedded and encultured knowledge and so forth. These taxonomies represent the multifaceted nature and forms of organization knowledge. In the context of OI they seem required enrichment. For example, the development of user centric approach to innovation necessitates to go beyond the distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge. It also needs to appraise the variety of tacit knowledge represented in ways such as experiential and emotional knowledge.

These enrichment offers new perspective for assessing how to articulate heterogeneous knowledge that is tacit dependent and personalized with the documented and structured knowledge characterized by the potential of codified scientific knowledge. Assessing the value of external knowledge and articulating heterogeneous knowledge becomes more complex than in the context of closed innovation paradigm (Martini et al., 2017). The literature has shown the efforts made by firms for improving the breadth and depth of external search (Garriga et al., 2013; Colombo et al., 2021), but the incidences of OI paradigm on the dynamic of integration and articulation of heterogeneous knowledge are not clearly studied.

The incidences of OI paradigm on the socialization and codification processes remain poorly examined. For example, the way to develop KM strategy and systems for implementing the three archetypes of OI (inbound, out bound, coupled) are pointed out by Natalicchio et al., (2017) and Garriga et al., (2013) but the investigation remains located at the macro organizational level. Venkitachalam and Willmott (2016) show how size, competition, structure, technology and the nature of the firms’ activities influence the personalization and/or codification KM strategies in operational environments. But scholars remain silent about the incidences of the OI paradigm on the KM strategy mix of personalization and codification processes.

The various enablers at the individual and collective levels for implementing KM strategy and KM systems are not clearly evident in the OI literature. Due to variety of the spaces of interactions among people, institutions and organizations, the knowledge processes of creation, storage, retrieval and transfer are tricky to manage strategically in an OI environment. Many scholars point out the role of teams and communities for sharing tacit knowledge (Amin and Cohendet, 2004; Enberg et al., 2006) but few of them explain how they contribute to integrate heterogeneous knowledge and contribute to develop new memory system and enable open innovation in inter-organizational partnerships and ecosystem environments.

This special issue call for papers address topics that links open innovation as a new paradigm for knowledge management perspectives in organisations. Possible topics, themes and research question include but not limited to are:

  •  How do inbound, outbound and coupled OI processes influence KM strategy and systems?
  •  How do the various initiatives of OI (such as crowdsourcing platform and the collaboration with startups) impact the knowledge processes of the firms?
  •  How does the organizational memory is managed when companies develop OI strategy?
  • How to grasp the value of experiential knowledge in the context of OI paradigm?
  • What are the micro-foundation perspectives to assess and integrate internal and external sources of knowledge in OI? 
  • What is the role of individual and organizational intermediaries in the management of knowledge at the ecosystems level of OI?
  •  How do innovation commons represent new forms of socialization and codification processes related to OI?
  • What are the sectoral specificities for strategically managing knowledge in the OI context?

Submission Details: 

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Author guidelines must be strictly followed.

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

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Key Dates:

Open: 1st of August, 2023
Close: 31st of December, 2023

Key literature references:

Alavi, M, & Leidner, D. (2001). Knowledge Management and Knowledge Management Systems: Conceptual Foundations and Research Issues. MIS Quarterly, 25(1), 107–136. Amin, A., Cohendet, P. (2004) Architectures of Knowledge: Firms, Capabilities, and Communities. Oxford: Oxford University Press Bogers, M., & Foss, N. J. (2018). The “human side” of open innovation: The role of employee diversity in firm-level openness. Research Policy, 47(1), 218–231. Bogers, M., Chesbrough, H., Heaton, S., & Teece, D. J. (2019). Strategic Management of Open Innovation: A Dynamic Capabilities Perspective. California Management Review, 62(1), 77–94. Bogers, M. Zobel A.K., Afuah A., Almirall E., Brunswicker S., Dahlander L., Frederiksen L., Gawer A., Gruber M., Haefliger S., Hagedoorn J., Hilgers D., Laursen K., Magnusson M.G, Majchrzak A., McCarthy I.P., Moeslein K.M., Nambisan S., Piller F.T., Agnieszka Radziwon, Lamastra C.R., L. J. Ter Wal J.S.M (2017),The open innovation research landscape: established perspectives and emerging themes across different levels of analysis. Industry and Innovation, 24(1), 8–40. Chesbrough, H. W., & Appleyard, M. M. (2007). Open Innovation and Strategy. California Management Review, 50(1), 57-76. Chesbrough, H. (2003). Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Harvard Business School Press, Cambridge, MA Clayton, P., Feldman, M., & Lowe, N. (2018). Behind the scenes: Intermediary organizations that facilitate science commercialization through entrepreneurship. Academy of Management Perspectives, 32(1), 104–124. Cohendet, P. (2022). Architectures of the commons: collaborative spaces and innovation. Advances in Economic Geography, 66(1), 36–48. Colombo, M. G., Foss, N. J., Lyngsie, J., & Rossi Lamastra, C. (2021). What drives the delegation of innovation decisions? The roles of firm innovation strategy and the nature of external knowledge. Research Policy, 50(1), 104-134. Enberg, C., Lindkvist L., T. F. (2006). Exploring the Dynamics of Knowledge Integration: Acting and Interacting in Project Teams. Management Learning, 37(2), 143–165. Garriga, H., Spaeth, S., & Krogh, G. Von. (2013). How constraints and knowledge impact open innovation. Strategic Management Journal, 34(9), 1134-1144. Germain, E., Klofsten, M., Löfsten, H., & Mian, S. (2022). Science parks as key players in entrepreneurial ecosystems. R&D Management. Grant, R. M. (1996). Prospering in dynamically-competitive environnements : organizational capability as knowledge integration. Organization Science, 7(4), 375–387. Holgersson, Marcus, B. C., & Chesbrough, Henry, B. M. (2022). The Forces of Ecosystem Evolution. California Management Review, 64(3), 5–23. Ivanova, I. (2014). Quadruple Helix Systems and Symmetry: A Step Towards Helix Innovation System Classification. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 5(2), 357–369. 4 Merindol V., Le Chaffotec A., Versailles, DWV. (2023a). The role of organization intermediaries in science/techno-push versus user centric approaches in health care innovation, European Journal of Innovation Management, ahead print. Merindol, V. and Versailles, D. W., eds; (2023), Open labs and innovation management, Routledge series in innovation, London: Routledge. Natalicchio, A., Ardito, L., Savino, T. and Albino, V. (2017). Managing knowledge assets for open innovation: a systematic literature review. Journal of Knowledge Management, 21(6), 1362-1383. Nickerson, J. and T. Zenger, 2004, “A Knowledge-based Theory of the Firm: The ProblemSolving Perspective”. Organization Science, 15: 617-632. Nonaka, I, and Takeuchi, H. (1995). The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press. Potts, J. (2018). Governing the innovation commons. Journal of Institutional Economics, 14(6), 1025–1047. Pustovrh, A., Rangus, K., and Drnovšek, M. (2020). The role of open innovation in developing an entrepreneurial support ecosystem. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 152 Schemmann, B., Herrmann, A. M., Chappin, M. M. H., & Heimeriks, G. J. (2016). Crowdsourcing ideas: Involving ordinary users in the ideation phase of new product development. Research Policy, 45(6), 1145–1154. Schmidt, S., & Brinks, V. (2017). Open creative labs: Spatial settings at the intersection of communities and organizations. Creativity and Innovation Management, 26(3), 291–299. Venkitachalam, K., & Busch, P. (2012). Tacit knowledge: Review and possible research directions. Journal of Knowledge Management, 16(2), 356–371. Venkitachalam, K., & Willmott, H. (2016). Determining strategic shifts between codification and personalization in operational environments. Journal of Strategy and Management, 9(1), 2-14. Weiblen, T., & Chesbrough, H. W. (2015). Engaging with startups to enhance corporate innovation. California Management Review, 57(2), 66–90.

Important dates:

Manuscripts due by: 30 November 2023 First notification to authors: 31 March 2024 Second notification to authors: 30 May 2024 Final versions due by: 15 September 2024

Biography of the Guest Editors:

Valerie Merindol (PhD, H.D.R; University of Strasbourg, France) is Full Professor of Innovation and Creativity Management at the Paris School of Business, France where she co-heads the newPIC chair since 2014. She has been carrying out research in areas such as the management of open innovation labs, the micro-foundations of dynamic capabilities and the 5 orchestration models of ecosystems of innovation. Valerie Mérindol is active as a principal investigator for research projects commissioned by different French institutions, most notably the French Ministry of Defence, the French governmental office Bpi France, and key innovative actors such at CEA and bio-cluster Genopole. She has also organized tracks on innovation topics in international conferences such as EURAM. Valerie is the author of 35 articles in academic journals (such as European Management Review, R&D Management and European Journal of Innovation management). She has guest edited 3 special issues in academic journals, and she is the author of 6 books. She is member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Knowledge Management.

Krishna Venkitachalam (PhD, University of Melbourne and Docent (eq. H.D.R), Stockholm University) is a Professor of Strategic Management at the College of Business Administration (CBA), Ajman University (AU), UAE. Previously, he was a Full Professor of Strategy at the Estonian Business School (EBS), Tallinn, Estonia. Earlier he held positions at Stockholm University, Sweden, Cardiff University, UK and La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. He has been carrying out research in areas such as strategic knowledge management, knowledge dynamics, tacit knowledge, and knowledge processes in organisations. His paper on KM strategy alignment in the Journal of Knowledge Management won the Emerald Literati Award in 2014. He has published in regarded journals such as KMRP, JKM, JSMA, JSIS etc. and various international conferences. He has also chaired/organised tracks in several international conferences, such as IFKAD and the Nordic Academy of Management. He is an Editorial Board member of Knowledge Management Research & Practice (KMRP). He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Strategy and Management (JSMA); Associate Editor, Organizational Psychology section of Frontiers in Psychology; Regional Editor (EMEA) of the International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies (IJKMS); Associate Editor of International Journal of Innovation Studies (IJIS) and an Associate Editor of Measuring Business Excellence (MBE).