Two main theoretical perspectives
We use two main
theoretical perspectives in our research: innovation capabilities and business
modeling. Companies’ innovation capabilities, in addition to the ability to
develop new technology and hence new products, must also include the ability to
think innovatively about the entire business offering: business model
examines the processes firms engage in to create their business offer and,
thus, encompasses more than technological research and development, product
development, of the innovative conceptual phases within the framework of the
existing business logic. Ever more companies today are trying to develop new
business models, i.e. fresh solutions for the creation and appropriation of
competitive value for the customer. Business model innovation is essential for
both large and small firms.
However, research on
business model development and the elements required for building and changing
innovation capability is relatively limited. Also, business model research
tends to be based on retrospective studies of rather grandiose business-model
Research approach – Collaborative research
CBI researchers work
in the context of the emergence of collaborative research as a discipline
within management science and we participate in that development. Collaborative
research is understood as an approach that involves both company
representatives and academic researchers jointly formulating research questions
and jointly developing actionable scientific knowledge.
characteristics of CBI research approach are company-close research and the
co-production of knowledge. The role of the researcher in collaborative
research could be seen as two-fold – both to co-create new knowledge together
with actors from the studied object (the organization) and to facilitate
sense-making of the emerging knowledge by those concerned and enable its
application. This implies a need for close co-operation with practitioners.
characteristics of collaborative research can be distinguished: Firstly, a true
partnership signifies that the researcher establishes a close and long-term
relationship with the company or companies being studied. This enables the
development of a contextual understanding of the organization being studied.
This longitudinal collaboration builds (and assumes) trust, which is particularly
important when the research is focused on the firm’s core capabilities and core
issues and requires access to undisclosed areas. A shared language develops
between researchers and practitioners which in turn facilitates mutual
understanding and mutual learning. From a pure research perspective, the
researcher gains access to rich empirical material and core firm processes,
resulting in subsequent in-depth understanding.
The second key
notion of collaborative research is the emergent and systematic inquiry process
that signifies the exploratory character of this type of research. The research
problems addressed are not in detail formulated in advance; they emerge and are
developed in collaboration with the industry partner as mutual understanding of
the knowledge area increases. A combination of academic problem definitions and
an industrial perspective on the relevant challenges serve as basis for the
joint problem formulation. Within CBI we use the notion circles of interests.
Using an abductive approach, revisiting the relevant literature as knowledge on
the subject grows, enables a multiperspective knowledge generation process, in
which both academics and practicing managers take part.
The third key notion
of collaborative research is the generation of actionable scientific knowledge
which underlines the production of knowledge relevant to both the research
community and managers. Actionable knowledge may be defined as knowledge of action,
that is, meaningful for action and easily translated into action by the firm.
To summarize, for
CBI collaborative research means:
- Involves an intent
to contribute to change
- Researchers may
- Research is always
- Joint knowledge
- Often joint
- Aims at producing