Towards technological rules for designing innovation networks: A dynamic capabilities view

Palie Smart*, John Bessant, Abhishek Gupta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - Inter-organizational innovation networks provide opportunities to exploit complementary resources that reside beyond the boundary of the firm. The shifting locus of innovation and value creation away from the "sole firm as innovator" poses important questions about the nature of these resources and the capabilities needed to leverage them for competitive advantage. The purpose of this paper is to describe research into producing design-oriented knowledge, for configuring inter-organizational networks as a means of accessing such resources for innovation. Design/methodology/approach - This exploratory investigation conflates emerging constructs and themes analytically induced from a systematic survey of 142 scholarly and practitioner articles and 45 expert interviews with senior professionals operating in the biopharmaceuticals industry. Findings - The findings identify seven theoretically and empirically grounded technological rules associated with effective inter-organizational networking for innovation. They embody evidence ex post of networking theory and practice. Based on van Aken's seminal work, they comprise design-oriented knowledge to provide a solution architecture of viable action options for managers, a priori, to purposefully design innovation networks. Collectively these rules represent a tentative taxonomy, a means of classifying design principles, to assist managers in navigating their decision-making processes. Originality/value - This study demonstrates the need for explicit design-oriented knowledge for configuring inter-organizational networks. Finally, the implications of the findings for strategic management theory are discussed from a dynamic capabilities view. The significance of a dynamic capability which addresses the renewal of network-specific resources is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1092
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Design and development
  • Innovation
  • Networking
  • Pharmaceutical technology


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