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Being mobile: a call for collaborative innovation practices?

Laurent Antonczak (University of Strasbourg, CNRS, INRAE, BETA, Strasbourg, France)
Thierry Burger-Helmchen (University of Strasbourg, CNRS, INRAE, BETA, Strasbourg, France)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 2 April 2021

Issue publication date: 16 July 2021




The purpose of this study is to examine mobile technology as being a key apparatus and interface for collaborative innovation, which allows organisations to develop their information ecology.


The qualitative research was performed by in-depth interviews, observations and field notes. The eight main interviews are supported by an interdisciplinary narrative literature review of knowledge management and associated fields.


This study validates the following propositions: mobile technology can offer users timely information, mobile technology can foster collaboration beyond physical and organisational boundaries, in general, mobile technology enables a wider amount of interactions between people. Thereby, this paper draws some implications about the knowledge management of creative (and non-creative) workers.

Research limitations/implications

The collected data sheds light on how organisations and individuals positioned themselves about mobile technology co-creative practices before the COVID era. Therefore, it shall be pertinent to further investigate these findings through a quantitative approach to better ascertain path models and to strengthen the new results with another qualitative perspective, in the post-COVID era.

Practical implications

The study highlights how mobile devices are facilitating collaborative innovation practices by improving management decisions, enabling new business and/or operating models, developing a flow of ideas inner/outer an organisation and fostering the ability to make innovation.

Social implications

Mobile technology transforms the way to work (knowledge creation and/or conversion) and it changes the relations between collaborators in a working environment (beyond physical boundaries). This study deciphers how a creative and/or decision-making person can change their work schedule and/or routines based on the use of mobile devices.


The added value of this transdisciplinary study is that it improves research on collaborative innovation and collective knowledge by revealing three pertinent characteristics of mobile technology: enabling quick decision; connecting with a glocal network and fostering collective creativity. It also creates a bridge between the fields of education and business.



The authors would like to thank Prof. Patrick Llerena (Unistra, BETA-CNRS, France), and Prof Catherine Ris and Dr Gilles Taladoire (UNC/IUT, New Caledonia) for their support. Also, a big thank you to the anonymous referees for their insightful feedback, and to all the participants and contributors who informed this paper. Special thanks to Valérie Lobstein, Joan Dunn, and the diligent editorial team.


Antonczak, L. and Burger-Helmchen, T. (2021), "Being mobile: a call for collaborative innovation practices?", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 122 No. 5/6, pp. 360-382.



Emerald Publishing Limited

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