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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2020

Stefano Magistretti, Claudio Dell’Era, Federico Frattini and Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli

Several studies show that identity is a critical success factor in design-intensive industries, leading managers and executives to identify solutions that enable firms to…

Abstract

Purpose

Several studies show that identity is a critical success factor in design-intensive industries, leading managers and executives to identify solutions that enable firms to simultaneously innovate while preserving their link with the past. Accordingly, scholars have recently revealed the role of the so-called innovation through tradition strategy. Thus, the purpose of this study/paper is to understand how design intensive firms may exploit knowledge pertaining to the past.

Design/methodology/approach

The research contributes to this line of inquiry by conducting a longitudinal analysis of two leading Italian design-intensive firms, B&B Italia and Cassina S.p.A. Specifically, through almost 30 h of interviews with 11 key informants and the analysis of various secondary sources, a unique database of over 900 products covering the period of 1960-2016 was developed.

Findings

The findings reveal that both firms leverage knowledge from the past mainly to preserve firm identity, as indicated by the two indicators used to capture the use of knowledge pertaining to the past (i.e., design tradition intensity and design tradition depth). In addition, the study shows that the values of these indicators significantly increase when ownership control shifts from family-based to fund-based.

Originality/value

The paper looks at design artifacts as a source of knowledge, exploring how they can support firms in reinforcing their identity. The original contribution to the design through traditional literature is in unveiling the product signs dimension of this particular innovation strategy.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2017

Mattia Bianchi, Anthony Di Benedetto, Simone Franzò and Federico Frattini

The purpose of this paper is to bring new empirical evidence to the controversial role of early adopters in the diffusion of innovations in industrial markets.

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1293

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to bring new empirical evidence to the controversial role of early adopters in the diffusion of innovations in industrial markets.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors apply an actor market configuration perspective to the analysis of four longitudinal case studies regarding the commercialization of new products in the textile, plastic and energy industries.

Findings

The diffusion of innovation is an interactive and iterative process where the commercializing firm engages in repeated interactions with different categories of companies that are targeted as potential early adopters. This process ends when the commercializing firm identifies a category of early adopters that can stimulate subsequent acceptance in the later market, by playing one of the following two roles, i.e. word-of-mouth trigger and industry benchmark. During this process, through which the role of the early adopters is constructed proactively by the commercializing firm, the product innovation is also subject to changes to provide a better fit with the selected category of early adopters.

Research limitations/implications

The paper calls for a re-conceptualization of the diffusion process, from a passive identification of early adopters to an interactive process that entails a trial-and-error approach in the targeting and involvement of different categories of early adopters, which ends when the innovation reaches the desired levels of diffusion.

Practical implications

The study provides managers with a number of recommendations for selecting the most proper category of early adopters for their innovations, depending on the role they are more likely to play and the influence they will exert on subsequent acceptance in the later market.

Social implications

The study provides managers with a number of recommendations for targeting, through a trial-and-error process, early adopters and working with them to champion the dissemination of new technologies.

Originality/value

This paper significantly adds to existing literature on the diffusion of innovation, which has up to now conceived early adopters as static and given entities, which cannot be proactively selected by the commercializing firm, and innovation as an immutable object.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Elena Casprini, Alfredo De Massis, Alberto Di Minin, Federico Frattini and Andrea Piccaluga

This paper aims to shed light on how family firms execute open innovation strategies by managing internal and external knowledge flows.

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1897

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to shed light on how family firms execute open innovation strategies by managing internal and external knowledge flows.

Design/methodology/approach

First, through a comprehensive literature review, the paper identifies the barriers to the acquisition and transfer of knowledge in open innovation processes. Second, it presents and discusses the results of an exploratory case study on Loccioni, an Italian family firm providing high-tech measurement solutions, highlighting how this family firm managed to overcome the barriers in executing an open innovation strategy.

Findings

The case study shows that Loccioni faced specific challenges in acquiring and transferring knowledge in its open innovation processes and developed two idiosyncratic capabilities – labelled imprinting and fraternization – that helped the firm overcome the barriers to knowledge acquisition and transfer. The analysis shows that these two capabilities are enabled by the distinctive goals and social capital characterizing family firms.

Originality/value

The paper creates a link between open innovation and family business research with an empirically grounded model illustrating how the idiosyncratic capabilities of a family firm help overcome the critical barriers to the acquisition and transfer of knowledge in executing an open innovation strategy.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2018

Vito Manfredi Latilla, Federico Frattini, Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli and Martina Berner

This paper aims to provide a comprehensive academic literature review on the relationship between knowledge management, knowledge transfer and organizational performance…

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2250

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a comprehensive academic literature review on the relationship between knowledge management, knowledge transfer and organizational performance in a specific subset of the creative industry, i.e. arts and crafts organizations. Furthermore, this paper analyzes how knowledge management and transfer within arts and crafts organizations help increase performance and enhance the value of the activity of the so-called “knowledge workers” (i.e. craftsmen), who are the real knowledge owners in the process of value creation.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature review follows the model suggested by Vom Brocke et al. (2009). The review follows a five-phase approach so as to be systematic, transparent and replicable. Academic contributions published over two periods are taken into consideration. The first period covers the years 1990-2000, when the concepts of creative industry and knowledge-based economy were developed. The second period covers the years 2000-2016, when scholars started to investigate how to effectively transfer knowledge (very often in the form of “tacit knowledge”) retained by master craftsmen in arts and crafts organizations and the critical role played by craftsmen in the performance of such organizations.

Findings

Three main issues have emerged: how arts and crafts organizations manage and transfer knowledge internally; the effects of these activities on organizational performance; and the prominent role of craftsmen. The literature review shows how in arts and crafts organizations there is a considerable link between the concepts of “performance" and "tacit knowledge", even though addressing such link is somehow hard to realize, for several reasons discussed in the paper. The measurement of performance in arts and crafts organizations has become an area of academic investigation only when both the role of knowledge management and transfer and the role of knowledge workers (i.e., craftsmen) have become evident for obtaining a competitive advantage.

Research limitations/implications

This paper has been an attempt to organize existing studies on knowledge management and transfer and to investigate the relationship existing between knowledge and performance in arts and crafts organizations. Nevertheless, the relationship between knowledge and performance is yet to be explored, as well as the development of techniques for measuring arts and crafts organizations’ performance effectively. The present contribution calls for a systematic reflection on how the transfer of traditional craftsmen’s skills impacts organizational performances in the long run. The definition and implementation of new performance evaluations criteria tailored to enhance the tacit knowledge of craftsmen as a real source of differentiation and competitive advantage for the arts and crafts organizations is somehow still missing.

Practical implications

By pursuing its objectives, the present contribution aims to represent a step toward enabling arts and crafts organizations to play a vital role in the modern society in a more structured way. This would help to build awareness of the potential of arts and crafts organizations for promoting economic growth, proposing a value proposition different from the one dictated by the globalization and by the triumph of product standardization and mass production.

Originality/value

Analyzing the knowledge management and transfer within arts and crafts organizations with a historical perspective, it appears that the recognition in academic literature of the centrality of knowledge management and transfer within arts and crafts organizations is only recent (i.e. from 2011 onward). Indeed, for approximately 20 years (i.e. 1990-2010), knowledge has been constantly related to technological paradigms and standardized results, with very little research and debate on craftsmanship and the role of craftsmen. Nevertheless, the research shows that over the years, the focus on knowledge in arts and crafts organizations and knowledge transfer has become progressively more detailed and precise: some authors have studied the role of craftsmen in the knowledge economy according to a historical perspective, while some others have analyzed different types of knowledge more thoroughly. For example, Sveiby (1997, 1996), analyzing the concept of "knowing talent" and "tradition", outlines a more prominent role of craftsmen in the knowledge economy and explain how, in sectors with a strong traditional background, the transfer of tacit knowledge is a meaningful challenge for many organizations.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 22 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2019

Vito Manfredi Latilla, Federico Frattini, Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli and Martina Berner

This paper aims to analyse and discuss five longitudinal case studies in which the authors have investigated how, in a specific subset of the creative industry, i.e. the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse and discuss five longitudinal case studies in which the authors have investigated how, in a specific subset of the creative industry, i.e. the arts and crafts organizations, knowledge can be systematized and transferred, becoming a real source of competitive advantage.

Design/methodology/approach

As no prior empirical research on the relationship among knowledge, knowledge transfer the role of craftsmen is available, an exploratory, qualitative research design seems advisable to study the phenomenon in detail. In setting up a multiple case study, the authors established a sampling frame of criteria associated with the theoretical background and research interest of this study: the case firms had to be arts and crafts organizations well-known for the high quality and value of their artifacts and have a solid reputation for preserving the tradition and the uniqueness of their manufacturing processes.

Findings

It has emerged the importance of craftsmen within arts and crafts organizations, whose know-how and technical skills are high valued by colleagues, by the market (customers), within the society and the territory where they operate. The knowledge acquired and retained by the craftsmen becomes therefore crucial for the survival of the arts and crafts organizations and for their profitability in the long term.

Research limitations/implications

From the empirical investigation, it has emerged a certain unawareness at managerial level of the strategic relevance of the craftsmen knowhow and skills and of how to practically and effectively transfer their knowledge to a future generation of young craftsmen to continue to satisfy a unique and exclusive market demand. Furthermore, it has emerged the lack of a common knowledge transfer policy to different organizations. Therefore, it has not been possible to define a standard framework for the knowledge transfer process because it is influenced by the organizational structure, the management style of the organization owner (very often a family that retains the totality of the organization shares/quota), the social context and the territory where the organization is located, as well as the target market and the specific niche of customers who buy the organization’s products. This result represents a potential threat for the survival of arts and crafts organizations in the long run.

Practical implications

A common result that has emerged is that craftsmen play a crucial role for the success of arts and crafts organizations, through the creation and production of exclusive, high value products; hence, it is crucial to preserve and transfer properly their knowhow and skills. This result is particularly relevant for the world of practice: in a time where globalization demands for the relocation of production processes and technology automates several job tasks, the variegated world of arts and crafts, where the handmade abilities and skills of craftsmen cannot be replicate, imitate or standardize, becomes extremely important for the economy of several countries, among which Italy.

Social implications

At social level, the activity of arts and crafts organizations help preserve the uniqueness and exclusivity of the heritage and culture of the territory where they are located, and reflect the tradition of such territory, the knowhow and ability of its inhabitants and help preserve this unique reservoir of competences and knowhow.

Originality/value

The contribution builds on the lack of practical understanding of the relationship between knowledge and the role played by craftsmen in the knowledge transfer process within arts and crafts organizations, and how effective such process is realized. This because despite the interest of many authors toward both knowledge management and transfer within the creative industry, there is a lack of studies aimed at linking systematically these two research areas. This is a relevant issue since knowledge in creative industries mainly refers to the traditions and values at the basis of an organization’s culture, tends to manifest itself in a tacit way and is difficult to analyze because it mainly exists in the mind of individuals as the result of their working experience not expressed in an explicit form.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 23 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 February 2020

Elena Pellizzoni, Daniel Trabucchi, Federico Frattini, Tommaso Buganza and Anthony Di Benedetto

This study aims to shed lights on the dynamics of involving and sharing knowledge with stakeholders in the process of new service development (NSD) over time.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to shed lights on the dynamics of involving and sharing knowledge with stakeholders in the process of new service development (NSD) over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a paradigmatic case focused on the development of the digital MBA program by the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. Primary and secondary data have been largely collected and analyzed, involving multiple stakeholders of the development process.

Findings

This study describes how several stakeholders have been involved during the phase of the NSD process, showing two variables that ruled their involvement: the level of control exerted by the School on the stakeholders and the level of flexibility of the stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

This research offers insights to the understanding of the dynamics of involving and sharing knowledge with multiple-stakeholders in NSD. From a theoretical perspective, it contributes to stakeholder theory linking it with the service management literature, highlighting the role of cyclical fluctuations in the involvement activities.

Practical implications

This research offers insights to managers dealing with the development of new services, offering them a novel view on how various stakeholders may be involved over time, in different moment and in different ways, to properly enhance the development process thanks to their knowledge sharing.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the service management literature emphasizing the role of multiple stakeholders while providing insights and suggestions to manage the complex relationships created by their involvement and their knowledge.

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Article
Publication date: 16 June 2021

Andrea Patrucco, Federico Frattini and Anthony Di Benedetto

In the wake of the growing popularity of the open innovation approach, leveraging suppliers as external sources of innovation has attracted increasing interest from…

Abstract

Purpose

In the wake of the growing popularity of the open innovation approach, leveraging suppliers as external sources of innovation has attracted increasing interest from scholars and practitioners. Successful supplier involvement largely depends on an effective performance measurement process, but both supply chain management and innovation management literature have paid limited attention to this aspect. This paper aims to fill this gap by illustrating how companies measure the performance of the suppliers involved in their innovation projects and what role is played by the purchasing department.

Design/methodology/approach

This study interviews project stakeholders from nine different organizations acting as focal companies in the supply chains of various industries. This paper complements this on-field information with a vast amount of data collected from secondary project documents. Structured data coding and analysis allow us to discuss how companies redesign their performance measurement systems to ease the collaboration with suppliers in innovation and what factors underly these decisions.

Findings

The findings show that, in many cases, supplier performance measurement systems deviate from their typical characteristics to support collaboration in innovation projects. They integrate quantitative and qualitative measures, include contributions from different project stakeholders and are oriented toward high visibility and transparency with suppliers. A more substantial redesign of these systems is favored when purchasing is assigned to strategic project responsibilities and possesses higher absorptive capacity.

Originality/value

The results complement the knowledge for the supply chain management field, where supplier performance measurement systems have been discussed in the context of traditional buyer-supplier relationships, but not comprehensively in innovation projects and not considering the role of purchasing. Findings also contribute to the innovation management literature, which has mostly focused on what aspects need to be measured for innovation partners, rather than how to manage the performance measurement process in practice.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2013

Claudio Dell’Era, Federico Frattini and Antonio Ghezzi

Considering the strikingly high number of new products and services that are withdrawn from the market very soon after launch, the aim of this paper is to study how early…

Abstract

Purpose

Considering the strikingly high number of new products and services that are withdrawn from the market very soon after launch, the aim of this paper is to study how early market survival is affected by decisions regarding a particular launch tactic, i.e. the configuration of the adoption network through which the innovation is commercialized. The paper also investigates how the impact on early market survival of this launch tactics depends on the maturity of the technology underlying the new service.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual model relating the variables “size of the adoption network”, “brand awareness of the organizations comprised in the adoption network”, “maturity of the underlying technology” and “early market survival” is tested in the empirical setting of the Italian mobile value added services (VAS) market, utilizing a longitudinal dataset which includes more than 28,000 new VAS launched between 2003 and 2007.

Findings

The paper shows that increasing the number of external organizations involved in the adoption network is a particularly effective tactical decision for new services based on very novel technologies, whereas building an adoption network that involves organizations with high brand awareness in the eyes of prospective customers positively impacts the early market survival of services relying on mature technologies.

Originality/value

Besides providing practical insight to product and marketing managers seeking to maximize the chances of early survival of the services they are responsible for, the paper has interesting implications for launch decisions and diffusion of innovation research.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 February 2007

Vittorio Chiesa, Federico Frattini, Valentina Lazzarotti and Raffaella Manzini

The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of designing a performance measurement system (PMS) for research and development (R&D) activities; in particular, it…

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1739

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of designing a performance measurement system (PMS) for research and development (R&D) activities; in particular, it investigates if and how different objectives for the PMS use influence the design of its constitutive elements.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review was first conducted, aimed at identifying the constitutive elements of a PMS for R&D and the major purposes for its use. Then, a multiple case study involving four Italian technology‐intensive firms was undertaken for investigating the relationship between PMS constitutive elements and measurement purposes.

Findings

Different PMS objectives imply significantly different design choices for constitutive elements. Even when companies are very different in terms of size and sector of activity, similar objectives lead to very similar PMSs.

Research limitations/implications

The research is qualitative. Further research should aim to increase the rationality and objectivity of the proposed relationships and explore the joint effects of the measurement objectives and other contextual factors on the measurement system design.

Practical implications

R&D managers who plan to design a PMS for their departments can follow the guidelines suggested in the paper to tune the basic features of the PMS to the real objectives they mean to pursue.

Originality/value

It is the first attempt, to the best knowledge of the authors, that explicitly and practically suggests how to tailor the design of each PMS's constitutive element according to the objectives that are pursued.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 January 2009

Vittorio Chiesa, Federico Frattini, Valentina Lazzarotti and Raffaella Manzini

This paper aims to study the problem of designing a Performance Measurement System (PMS) for R&D. In particular, it aims at investigating the influence exerted by the type…

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3603

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study the problem of designing a Performance Measurement System (PMS) for R&D. In particular, it aims at investigating the influence exerted by the type of activity being measured (i.e. Basic and Applied Research or New Product Development) on the design of the PMS constitutive elements.

Design/methodology/approach

First, a literature review made it possible to build a theoretical model that identifies the constitutive elements of the PMS for R&D. Second, a survey involving 129 Italian firms (with a response rate of 33 per cent) was performed to unearth a number of similarities and differences between PMSs used in Research and New Product Development settings. Finally, a follow‐up multiple case study investigation made it possible to understand the reason underlying the dissimilarities which emerged from the survey.

Findings

The analysis suggests that a specialisation of the performance measurement practices in research and development is pursued by the Italian firms in the sample, especially when a number of conditions are in place (e.g. high level of uncertainty in R&D, availability of resources, organisational separation between the research and development functions).

Research limitations/implications

The empirical analyses reported here focus on R&D‐intensive firms, because they invest more heavily in R&D and hence are more interested in measuring its performance. The generalisability of these results to other empirical settings is discussed and represents a promising avenue for future research.

Practical implications

The paper provides R&D managers with a number of criteria they should employ to design more effective PMSs for the R&D activities for which they are responsible. Moreover, it suggests that designing and using two different PMSs for research and new product development can be a valuable alternative but only under specific circumstances.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the first contributions that empirically assess the differences in the approaches employed to measure performance of research and new product development activities.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

Keywords

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