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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2017

Fernando G. Alberti and Emanuele Pizzurno

Little is known, about the role played by start-ups in open innovation networks. Start-ups – due to their nature of new and emerging companies – can largely benefit from…

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Abstract

Purpose

Little is known, about the role played by start-ups in open innovation networks. Start-ups – due to their nature of new and emerging companies – can largely benefit from the knowledge that can flow intentionally or unintentionally from external partners during open innovation practices. When open innovation networks are not set among peers on both sides the authors expect to have more unintended knowledge flows. Such knowledge “leaks” – as the authors named them – in open innovation networks are totally unexplored in literature. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to focus “whether and how knowledge leaks occur in open innovation networks with start-ups”.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design of this study relies on social network analysis methods and techniques to disentangle the role of start-ups in open innovation networks – in a major Italian aerospace cluster – vis-à-vis the three types of knowledge considered in this study. Then the authors confirmed knowledge leaks to occur through a multiplexity analysis. In the second stage of the research, the authors decided to strengthen the results, making them more vivid and thorough, relying on four case studies.

Findings

The paper sheds light on a totally unexplored phenomenon, theorizing on the role of start-ups in open innovation networks and suggesting intriguing implications both for theory and managers on whether and how knowledge leaks occur.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations arise from the specific research context, in fact the study has been conducted in an aerospace cluster. So future studies might consider to explore knowledge leaks in non-cluster settings and in low tech industries.

Practical implications

The results have practical implications both for policy makers and for managers. First of all, the research confirms how open innovation often originates from a combination of different knowledge types acquired through the collaboration with heterogeneous players, start-ups included. Hence, managers may design open innovation strategies balancing their portfolio of collaborations to maximize the absorption of relevant knowledge and start-uppers may consider to engage in open innovation practices to accelerate knowledge absorption. Nevertheless, the study warns managers against the risk of knowledge leaks, especially in cases like start-ups where the eagerness to participate or the prestige associated with participating in open innovation networks with key players may hamper the control over knowledge leaks.

Social implications

This opens up for possible interventions for policy makers too. First of all, policy makers may consider incorporating the concept of knowledge leaks in their campaign in favour of open innovation. Second, the study may help policy makers in designing programmes for knowledge transfer partnerships amongst the various players of a cluster in a more conscious way, especially warning new to business companies, like start-ups, about possible leaks. Finally, there is also the need of developing professional figures like consultants capable of supporting start-ups in their open innovation practices.

Originality/value

Findings reported in the paper confirm multiplexity and heteromorphism in knowledge exchanges and shed the light on a completely unexplored field (i.e. open innovation and start-ups), focussing on knowledge leaks. Relevant implications for policy makers and managers are included in the study.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2017

Fernando G. Alberti and Mario A. Varon Garrido

This paper aims to discuss hybrid organizations whose business models blur the boundary between for-profit and nonprofit worlds. With the aim of understanding how hybrid…

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4643

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss hybrid organizations whose business models blur the boundary between for-profit and nonprofit worlds. With the aim of understanding how hybrid organizations have developed commercially viable business models to create positive social and environmental change, the authors contend that hybrids are altering long-held business norms and conceptions of the role of the corporation in society. Building on an analysis of the most updated literature on hybrid organizations and with the use of case study approach, the purpose of this paper is to derive managerial lessons that traditional businesses may apply to innovate their business models.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper has a practical focus to help organizations to develop successful business strategies and design innovative business models. It applies emerging thinking on hybrid business models to provide new insights and ideas on the use of business models as tools for innovating and delivering value. To comply with this, first, the authors discuss the distinctive characteristics of hybrids and the hybrid business model through a concise but comprehensive review of all the literature on hybrid organization, which is still very recent. Second, we relied on a short case study that introduces information technology and digital innovation as the premises of the emergence of a new hybrid business model that adds additional elements to traditional business managers on how to learn from hybrid organizations’ avenues to innovate their business models.

Findings

In this paper, the authors aimed to shed light on the management of any organization or initiative that aims to embrace multiple and competing yet potentially synergistic goals, as is increasingly the case in modern corporations. Spotting hidden complementarities of antagonistic assets can be arduous, time-consuming, costly and risky, but businesses driven by innovation may want to keep a close eye on the expanding hybrid sector as a source of future entrepreneurial opportunities. To this regard, hybrid social ventures have the potential to shed light on ways to innovate traditional business models. The essence of studying hybrids is that firms may learn how to innovate their business models in ways that go beyond current conceptualizations, making their mission profitable, rather than making profit their only mission! The research design (literature analysis and case study) allowed the authors to disentangle different innovative business models that hybrids suggest highlight strengths and weaknesses of such business models, understand strategies and capabilities associated with hybrids and transpose all these lessons learned to traditional business managers who constantly struggle for innovation.

Research limitations/implications

The main implication is that hybrid organizations may serve as incubators for new practices that can gain scale and impact by infusion into existing corporations. The authors can assist to a process of “hybridization” of incumbent firms, pushing the boundaries of corporate sustainability efforts toward strategies in which profit and social purpose share more equal footing.

Practical implications

Firms interested in benefiting from antagonistic assets that can have a dramatic impact on their business model innovation may want to consider some lessons: firms can attempt to build antagonistic assets into their mission, asking themselves what activities they can undertake with the potential to create (or erode) social, environmental and economic value and how these activities might be mediated by the context/environment in which they operate; they can partner with hybrids to benefit from them and absorb competencies from them, so to increase their likelihood to generate value-creating activities and to impact on wider range of stakeholders, including funders, partners, beneficiaries and communities; they can mimic hybrids on how to innovate their business model through the use of the “deliberate resource misfit” dynamic capability, mitigating negative impacts and trade-offs and maximizing positive value spillovers, both for the firms themselves and for the community.

Social implications

Sharing know-how with hybrids opens up to ways to innovate business models, and hybrids are much more open to sharing lessons and encouraging others to copy their approaches in a genuine open innovation approach.

Originality/value

The main lesson businesses can take away from studying hybrids is that antagonistic assets – and not only profitable complementary ones, as the resource-based view would suggest – do not have to be a burden on profits. Hybrids ground their strategy first and foremost on their beneficiaries, thus dealing with a bundle of antagonistic assets. The primary objective of hybrids is thus to find imaginative ways of generating profits from their given resources rather than acquiring the resources that generate the highest profit. Profit is the ultimate goal of traditional businesses’ mission, but by making profit their only mission, firms risk missing out on the hidden opportunities latent in antagonistic assets. Learning from hybrids about how to align profits and societal impact may be a driver of long-term competitive advantage.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Fernando G. Alberti and Federica Belfanti

This paper aims to contribute to the debate about creating shared value (CSV) and clusters, by shedding light on how clusters might generate shared value, i.e. cause…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to the debate about creating shared value (CSV) and clusters, by shedding light on how clusters might generate shared value, i.e. cause social and business benefits, hence focusing on the following research question “do clusters create shared value?”

Design/methodology/approach

The study relied on social network analysis methods and techniques. Data have been collected from both primary and secondary sources, in the empirical context of the Motor Valley cluster in Emilia-Romagna. The authors computed three independent and four dependent variables to operationalize the concept of cluster development and shared value creation. A multiple regression quadratic assignment procedure and, more specifically, the most accurate model of that procedure, that is the double semi-partialling method, has been carried out to answer the research question. Finally, empirical evidence has been complemented with other cluster-level data recently collected by the Italian Cluster Mapping project.

Findings

The findings confirm how the development of the Motor Valley cluster in Emilia-Romagna contributed to the creation of economic and social growth opportunities for all the actors. The study shows that clusters do create shared value and the chosen cluster development variables do explain much of the business and social impact variables at a very high statistical significance level.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the under-explored research on clusters and CSV with a very first attempt in providing quantitative evidence of the phenomenon.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal , vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2015

Fernando G. Alberti and Emanuele Pizzurno

This paper aims at investigating the multifaceted nature of innovation networks by focusing on two research questions: Do cluster actors exchange only one type of…

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1214

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims at investigating the multifaceted nature of innovation networks by focusing on two research questions: Do cluster actors exchange only one type of innovation-related knowledge? Do cluster actors play different roles in innovation-related knowledge exchange?

Design/methodology/approach

This paper builds on data collected at the firm level in an Italian aerospace cluster, that is a technology-intensive industry where innovation is at the base of local competitiveness. A questionnaire was used to collect both attribute data and relational data concerning collaboration and the flows of knowledge in innovation networks. The authors distinguished among three types of knowledge (technological, managerial and market knowledge) and five types of brokerage roles (coordinator, gatekeeper, liaison, representative and consultant). Data analysis relied on social network analysis techniques and software.

Findings

Concerning the first research question, the findings show that different types of knowledge flow in different ways in innovation networks. The different types of knowledge are unevenly exchanged. The exchange of technological knowledge is open to everyone in the cluster. The exchange of market and managerial knowledge is selective. Concerning the second research question, the authors suggest that different types of cluster actors (large firms, small- and medium-sized enterprises, research centers and universities and institutions for collaboration) do play different roles in innovation networks, especially with reference to the three types of knowledge considered in this study.

Research limitations/implications

The present paper has some limitations. First of all, the analysis focuses on just one cluster (one industry in one specific location), cross- and comparative analyses with other clusters may illuminate the findings better, eliminating industry and geographical biases. Second, the paper focuses only on innovation-related knowledge exchanges within the cluster and not across it.

Practical implications

The results have practical implications both for policy makers and for managers. First, this research stresses how innovation often originates from a combination of different knowledge types acquired through the collaboration with heterogeneous cluster actors. Further, the analysis of brokerage roles in innovation-driven collaborations may help policy makers in designing programs for knowledge-transfer partnerships among the various actors of a cluster.

Social implications

The paper suggests a clear need of developing professional figures capable of operating at the interface of different knowledge domains.

Originality/value

The data illuminate several aspects of how innovation takes place in a cluster opening up intriguing aspects that have been overlooked by extant literature. The authors believe that this may trigger several lines of further research on the topic.

Details

Competitiveness Review, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 21 January 2019

Fernando G. Alberti and Federica Belfanti

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it aims at reconciling the literature on creating shared value (CSV) with the one on cluster development, searching for…

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2252

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it aims at reconciling the literature on creating shared value (CSV) with the one on cluster development, searching for complementarities and similarities. Second, it aims at understanding the role of cluster development in CSV. For these reasons, the authors operationalized the general idea of cluster development with the widely accepted concept of cluster initiatives, i.e. systematic efforts aimed at cluster development. The authors focused on exploring the process of launching and supporting local cluster initiatives through empirical evidence. In particular, the authors aimed at analyzing how a CSV strategy can be defined and developed when adopted within a cluster initiative.

Design/methodology/approach

The research draws on a critical review of the literature focusing on CSV and on a conceptual reconciliation between the literature on the CSV ecosystem with the one on clusters, and more specifically on those initial cluster initiatives. The authors relied on an exploratory case study of an Italian cluster initiative in CSV, i.e. the Science and Innovation Food District (SIFooD) cluster promoted by Whirlpool. Thanks to the richness and great availability of information about the case, this study primarily relied on the use of secondary data.

Findings

The case of SIFooD has highlighted how Whirlpool promoted the cluster initiative within its CSV framework to achieve sustainable and collaborative innovation in food waste prevention and, conversely, how SIFooD enhanced CSV of its cluster members. To arrange its network development process, SIFooD has implemented all the elements that prior literature has considered fundamental for launching and supporting a successful cluster initiative. On the other hand, SIFooD was able to adopt a collective-impact approach, implementing the five elements needed in its ecosystem to create shared value. Moreover, thanks to all the activities comprised in the SIFooD cluster initiative, shared value was actually created.

Research limitations/implications

The present paper has some limitations. First of all, the empirical analysis focuses only on one cluster initiative; thus, cross/comparative analyses with other cluster initiatives may illuminate the findings better. Second, the authors relied on a very recent cluster initiative in a particular field (food waste prevention) and in one specific institutional context (Italy); thus, data may suffer from temporal, industrial and geographical biases.

Originality/value

Literature on the border between CSV and clusters is still in its infancy and almost nothing is known about their relationship, despite them being intimately related since the inception of this field. The paper qualifies for a very first attempt to understand how firms promote clusters, through cluster initiatives, for the sake of CSV and how clusters may enhance CSV of firms.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal , vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 March 2007

Salvatore Sciascia, Fernando G. Alberti, Riccardo De Vita and Alberto Poli

One of the main problems of large firms is that they tend to lose their entrepreneurial orientation (EO) once they have grown.The launch of corporate ventures (CV) has…

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1002

Abstract

One of the main problems of large firms is that they tend to lose their entrepreneurial orientation (EO) once they have grown.The launch of corporate ventures (CV) has been adopted by managers, and studied by scholars, as the means to create new businesses within large companies with a low level of EO. Extensive research on CV has been carried out to understand how these projects can effectively lead to new business creation. However, there are no studies on the effect of CV projects on new business creation after the project has ended. More specifically, scholars have overlooked the prospect that a CV project may continue to influence new business creation and how this is possible. This article explores how CV projects have an effect on new business creation after they end, if any.The discussion builds on the analysis of the case study of Riso Gallo, an Italian company operating in the rice industry, which developed a CV project between 1988 and 1996 to sidestep a poor EO.

Details

New England Journal of Entrepreneurship, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2574-8904

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2016

Fernando G. Alberti

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177

Abstract

Details

Competitiveness Review, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Book part
Publication date: 21 May 2009

Salvatore Sciascia, Fernando G. Alberti and Carlo Salvato

Adopting a knowledge-based view of the firm, this chapter explores how different contents of firm-level entrepreneurship may influence performance of SMEs in moderately…

Abstract

Adopting a knowledge-based view of the firm, this chapter explores how different contents of firm-level entrepreneurship may influence performance of SMEs in moderately dynamic industries, which represent the bulk of economic activity in several countries. More specifically, this study aims, first, at identifying what types of entrepreneurial behavior – new-market entry, new-product development, diversification – are more suitable in order to survive and prosper in industries characterized by moderate growth and dynamism. Second, the analysis aims at assessing whether knowledge sharing is to be promoted in order to successfully compete in these industries. Third, the study aims at identifying which type of knowledge – market knowledge or technology knowledge – is most needed to develop entrepreneurial behavior and performance in low-growth industrial contexts. Following a knowledge-driven approach, we propose a view on corporate renewal that may complement current streams of research focused on large firms in high-velocity settings. Emerging results contribute to advancing the literature on entrepreneurial renewal by providing both an investigation of such behaviors within an industrial setting different from the high-growth, high-technology industries in which investigations have been conducted so far, and by suggesting that rich insights may be gained by investigating entrepreneurial recombinations within smaller firms that operate in less-dynamic contexts.

Details

Entrepreneurial Strategic Content
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-422-1

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

The authors shed light on the management of any organization or initiative that aims to embrace multiple and competing yet potentially synergistic goals, as is increasingly the case in modern corporations. Spotting hidden complementarities of antagonistic assets can be arduous, time-consuming, costly, and risky, but businesses driven by innovation may want to keep a close eye on the expanding hybrid sector as a source of future entrepreneurial opportunities. The essence of studying hybrids is that firms may learn how to innovate in ways that go beyond current conceptualizations, making their mission profitable, rather than making profit their only mission.

Practical implications

The paper provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world’s leading organizations.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 21 May 2009

Abstract

Details

Entrepreneurial Strategic Content
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-422-1

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