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Open Innovation From The Inside

Eric Michael Laviolette, Renaud Redien-Collot, Ann-Charlotte Teglborg

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This article analyzes how employee-driven innovation (EDI), an innovation policy mainly aimed at non-research and development (non-R&D) personnel, can be supportive of a firm’s absorptive capacity for inbound open innovation. Building on Vega-Jurado et al.’s integrative model of absorptive capacity in an R&D context, we adopt an abductive methodological approach to develop four proposals on the various functions of EDI in the light of an extreme single case study: (1) EDI fosters and sustains the structural antecedents of absorptive capacity; (2) EDI develops a broader range of gatekeepers among non-R&D personnel; (3) EDI diversifies knowledge sources (scientific, industrial, and user based) as well as different types of innovation (incremental, disruptive, product, and process) with internal and external knowledge combinations; and (4) EDI favors doing, using, and interacting in addition to science, technology, and innovation learning processes.