The Generation of Common Purpose in Innovation Partnerships : a Design Perspective

Abstract : Purpose - Scholars and practitioners have both emphasized the importance of collaboration in innovation context. They have also largely acknowledged that the definition of common purpose is a major driver of successful collaboration, but surprisingly, researchers have put little effort into investigating the process whereby the partners define the common purpose. This research aims to explore the Generation of Common Purpose (GCP) in innovation partnerships. Design/methodology/approach - An action-research approach combined with modeling has been followed. Our research is based on an in-depth qualitative case study of a cross-industry exploratory partnership through which four partners, from very different arenas, aim to collectively define innovation projects based on micro-nanotechnologies. Based on a design reasoning framework, the mechanisms of GCP mechanism are depicted. Findings - Regarding GCP, two main interdependent facets are identified: (1) the determination of existing intersections between the parties' concept and knowledge spaces ('Matching'); (2) an introspective learning process that allows the parties to transforms those spaces ('Building'). Practical implications - The better understanding of the GCP and the specific notion of "C-K profiles", which is an original way to characterize each partner involved in a partnership, should improve the capabilities of organizations to efficiently define collaborative innovation projects. Originality/value - This article explores one of the cornerstones of successful collaboration in innovation: the process whereby several parties define the common purpose of their partnership.
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Thomas Gillier, Akın Kazakçı, Gérald Piat. The Generation of Common Purpose in Innovation Partnerships : a Design Perspective. European Journal of Innovation Management, Emerald, 2012, 15 (3), pp.372-392. ⟨10.1108/14601061211243684⟩. ⟨halshs-00718287⟩

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