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Searching For Innovation Knowledge: Insight Into KIBS Companies

M. Zieba, E. Bolisani, M. Paiola, E. Scarso
Published 2017 · Computer Science

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The paper analyses the activity of research for “innovation knowledge”—here defined as knowledge that can lead to the introduction of service innovations—by Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS) companies. It proposes a classification of the possible search approaches adopted by those companies based on two dimensions: the pro-activity of search efforts and the source primarily used. Such classification is then discussed on the basis of the findings of a multiple case-study investigation involving 15 Italian and Polish KIBS companies. The study confirms that KIBS firms follow various approaches to acquire knowledge for innovation: some companies adopt a passive behaviour (i.e. innovative ideas come as a kind of side effect of their daily business activities), while others an active one (namely, they actively search for new ideas originating from various sources); some rely more on internal resources (employees, in-house R&D, internal documents, etc.), while others on external sources (clients, suppliers, service providers, universities, etc.). The results of the study have implications both for research and management that are discussed in the conclusions.
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