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Building Absorptive Capacity to Organise Inbound Open Innovation in Low Tech Industries

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Author Info

  • A. SPITHOVEN
  • B. CLARYSSE
  • M. KNOCKAERT

    ()

Abstract

The discussion on open innovation suggests that the ability to absorb external knowledge has become a major driver for competition. In the case of inbound open innovation, companies screen their environment to search for the appropriate technology and knowledge and do not exclusively rely on in-house R&D. A key precondition is that firms dispose of “absorptive capacity” to internalise external knowledge. For R&D intensive large firms, the concept of absorptive capacity is well understood. In contrast, for small firms and firms operating in traditional sectors, implementing the concept of absorptive capacity is less documented. These firms will have to look for assistance to build their absorptive capacity or even to ‘outsource’ a significant part of this function. This paper, therefore, focuses on the role of collective research centres in Belgium in building absorptive capacity at the intraorganisational dyad level. This type of technology intermediaries are created to help firms operating in traditional sectors to take advantage of the latest technological developments. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate that the trend towards openness of the innovation process forces firms lacking absortive capacity to search for alternative ways to engage in inbound open innovation. The paper highlights the multiple activities of which absorptive capacity is made up; it defines the concept of absorptive capacity as a precondition to open innovation; and it demonstrates how firms lacking absorptive capacity collectively cope with the distributedness of knowledge and innovation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 09/606.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:09/606

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Keywords: open innovation; absorptive capacity; technology intermediation;

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Cited by:
  1. Hammady Ahmed DINE RABEH, 2013. "Firm Resources’ Entanglement Determines ITS Absorptive Capacity: A Review Towards A New Reconceptualization," Working Papers 270, Laboratoire de Recherche sur l'Industrie et l'Innovation. ULCO / Research Unit on Industry and Innovation.
  2. Rachel Bocquet & Sébastien Brion & Caroline Mothe, 2013. "Gouvernance et innovation au sein des technopôles : le cas de Savoie Technolac," Post-Print hal-00915161, HAL.
  3. Acosta,Manuel & Azagra-Caro,Joaquín M. & Coronado,Daniel, 2014. "Access to universities’ public knowledge: Who’s more regionalist?," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201405, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), revised 16 May 2014.
  4. Hasnas, Irina & Lambertini, Luca & Palestini, Arsen, 2014. "Open Innovation in a dynamic Cournot duopoly," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 79-87.
  5. Jean Guinet & Dirk Meissner, 2012. "Open Innovation: Implications for Corporate Strategies, Government Policy and International R&D Spillovers," Foresight-Russia, National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 6(1), pages 26-36.
  6. André Spithoven & Wim Vanhaverbeke & Nadine Roijakkers, 2013. "Open innovation practices in SMEs and large enterprises," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 537-562, October.
  7. Vásquez-Urriago, Angela & Barge-Gil, Andrés & Modrego, Aurelia, 2014. "Which firms benefit more from being located in a Science and Technology Park? Empirical evidence for Spain," MPRA Paper 55130, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Luca Berchicci & Jeroen P.J. de Jong & Mark Freel, 2013. "Remote Collaboration, Absorptive Capacity, and the Innovative Output of High-tech Small Firms," DRUID Working Papers 13-01, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  9. Anna Comacchio & Sara Bonesso & Claudio Pizzi, 2012. "Boundary spanning between industry and university: the role of Technology Transfer Centres," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(6), pages 943-966, December.

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