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Innovative Assets And Inter-Asset Linkages—A Resource-Based Approach To Innovation


  • Jens Frøslev Christensen


The paper proposes a framework for analyzing assets and inter-asset linkages associated with technological innovation. The framework is consistent with a Penrosian view of the firm and draws on recent contributions from both the more general resource-based perspective and the innovation and technology perspective of the firm. Three broad categories of firm assets are distinguished: tradeable resources, technical/functional capabilities and managerial competences. Assets for technological innovation are defined as resources, technical capabilities and managerial competences for developing new products and processes. A taxonomy of generic innovative assets is proposed that distinguishes four generic categories of innovative assets: Scientific research assets, process innovative assets, product innovative application assets and aesthetic design assets. Critical inter-asset linkages are analyzed in terms of inter-asset specificity. It is argued that high degrees of inter-asset specificity provide greater scope for innovation and make higher demands on the innovative assets and their coordination than low degrees of inter-asset specificity. It is moreover suggested that complementary assets not only play the role of assuring proper commercialization of given innovations; they may also play a critical role as a 'focusing device' for directing the innovative process. Finally, some implications for strategy in innovative firms are indicated. Thus, the proposed inter-asset framework may help to specify the notion of core competences and provide a more differentiated perspective on innovation strategy and first-mover advantages.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Frøslev Christensen, 1996. "Innovative Assets And Inter-Asset Linkages—A Resource-Based Approach To Innovation," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 193-210.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:4:y:1996:i:3:p:193-210
    DOI: 10.1080/10438599600000009

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maidique, Modesto A. & Zirger, Billie Jo, 1985. "The new product learning cycle," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 299-313, December.
    2. Christensen, Jens Froslev, 1995. "Asset profiles for technological innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 727-745, September.
    3. Cynthia A. Montgomery & Birger Wernerfelt, 1988. "Diversification, Ricardian Rents, and Tobin's q," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 623-632, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolai J Foss & Jens Frøslev Christensen, 2001. "A market-process approach to corporate coherence," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4-5), pages 213-226.

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    Innovative assets; inter-asset linkages;


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