In order to create innovation, firms in high-tech industries do not only need to possess technological knowledge in various fields, but also need to know how to connect different technologies. A firm’s knowledge resources can be expressed as a single network composed of knowledge elements (nodes) and their combinations (ties). We develop a theoretical framework to investigate the dynamics of such a knowledge network over time, accounting for the attributes and effects of knowledge accumulation. We distinguish accumulated component and architectural knowledge, and investigate their impact on subsequent exploratory innovation, i.e., the creation of new elements and new combinations. Using patent data of 111 US semiconductor companies from 2000–2010, we find an inverted U-shape relationship in creating knowledge combinations in a firm’s knowledge network as well positive relationships between knowledge elements and knowledge combinations. The results highlight the important role of the firm’s accumulated knowledge resources in creating exploratory innovation.
Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)
- 502015 Innovation management