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Sourcing Innovation: probing Technology Readiness Levels with a design framework

Author

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  • Fabien Jean

    () (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Pascal Le Masson

    () (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Benoit Weil

    () (CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Supplier-buyer exchanges are well addressed in literature except in the case of unknown objects. Sourcing Innovation, i.e. the process of finding external sources of innovation and then bringing those innovations into the firm should transform incoming unknown objects to ascribe them value. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) have formalised the unknown in supplier-buyer exchanges in many industries for forty years but there is no evidence that they enable that transformation. We then use design theories, i.e. the Technology-Environment framework, to probe TRL through analysing ten cases combining documents analyses and longitudinal studies. We found that TRL avoid fixating on a low mature technology and are not an obstacle at genericity; however they fixate when the buyer waits a certain TRL prior exploring the new technology value. Finally TRL are unable to guide designers towards generativity notably because they embrace a definition of Environment focused on the prototyping method.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabien Jean & Pascal Le Masson & Benoit Weil, 2015. "Sourcing Innovation: probing Technology Readiness Levels with a design framework," Post-Print hal-01249946, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01249946
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01249946
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jacobides, Michael G. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn & Augier, Mie, 2006. "Benefiting from innovation: Value creation, value appropriation and the role of industry architectures," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1200-1221, October.
    2. Christian Terwiesch & Yi Xu, 2008. "Innovation Contests, Open Innovation, and Multiagent Problem Solving," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(9), pages 1529-1543, September.
    3. Pascal Le Masson & Armand Hatchuel & Benoit Weil, 2011. "The Interplay Between Creativity issues and Design Theories: a new perspective for Design Management Studies?," Post-Print hal-00696122, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Keywords

    generativity; supplier-buyer exchanges; Technology-Environment framework; design theory; innovation theory; fixation;

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