Shifting Loci of Innovation: A Study of Knowledge Boundaries, Identity and Innovation at NASA
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CitationLifshitz-Assaf, Hila. 2014. Shifting Loci of Innovation: A Study of Knowledge Boundaries, Identity and Innovation at NASA. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Business School.
AbstractThis dissertation explores how the ability to innovate is being transformed by the Web and the information age, as well as the challenges and opportunities the transformation entails. This research interest is fueled by the possibility that innovation today is on the verge of fundamental shifts in the mechanisms used and the capabilities developed for knowledge creation. The qualities of this shift are not yet well understood and its true impact still requires precise observation. This period of transition is fertile ground for researching the institutions that are affected by these changes. To this end I study the micro foundations of innovation. I study the underlying processes, roles and social dynamics that are the foundation of innovation initiatives in organizations. While most of the literature about Web-based innovation models investigates online communities, my focus is on their influence on organizations, on the intersection of these two seemingly contrasting worlds. My dissertation is based on an in-depth longitudinal field study at NASA, exploring their experimentation with opening knowledge boundaries through web platforms and communities. I begin with exploring how the process of knowledge and innovation production is impacted by using open innovation, and how it co-evolved with a significant shift in the professional identity of R&D organizational members. I then theoretically model when technological and scientific problems can be solved successfully through open innovation and use this model to offer an analytic framework for understanding how organizations shift the boundaries of their innovation process, emphasizing the importance hybrid innovation architectures. Lastly, I describe two facets of my future research. I explore the emergent process of cross boundary problem formulation that takes place when the problem formulation is decoupled from problem solving, opening the solution space for innovative solutions. I also explore the varied impacts using open innovation has on incumbent organizations, their identity, capabilities and design. I end with open questions and offer my reflections on organizing for innovation in the 21st century.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367802