Inderscience Publishers

Inter-firm knowledge management practices for technology and new product development in discontinuous innovation

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Discontinuous, or radical, innovation has been regarded as a critical factor in renewing firms' competitive position. The results of the Rensselaer Radical Innovation Project (RRIP) show that the development of new businesses and product lines based on discontinuous innovations requires distinct inter-firm knowledge management practices. Knowledge management studies suggest that inter-firm collaborative networks, such as strategic alliances, enhance corporate innovative capability by facilitating flow of knowledge across companies. Due to the increasing significance of inter-firm collaborative networks, there is a need for further understanding of knowledge management at the inter-firm level. By reviewing the literature on knowledge management practices, this article suggests that knowledge management practices vary from one organisation to another. The variety of corporate knowledge management practices attribute to distinct organisational settings, and technology domains in the context of technology and new product development. The authors propose that the different types of inter-firm collaborative networks are established to fulfil specific knowledge management requirements for divergent technology and new product development in discontinuous innovation.

Keywords: knowledge management, knowledge acquisition and creation, inter-firm knowledge management practice, inter-firm collaborative networks, technology development, new product development, discontinuous innovation, organisational settings

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