Department of Management

Lars Frederiksen

The Social Networks of Innovation: Broad vs. Narrow Ideation Ideas

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

It is a well-known fact in the innovation management literature that social network structures both constrain and
facilitate ideation activities within firm boundaries. Still, recent research shows how the impact of social network
structures varies across different contexts, depending e.g. on the complexity of knowledge involved and the outcome of
the innovation. Although, at initial stages of the ideation process both the type of knowledge required and the final
outcome is often unknown or at least unclear, while the aim of the innovation is known in advance. We introduce a
distinction between broad versus narrow innovation ideas reflecting such aims and claim that different ideas are related
to varying network structures. E.g., this may indicate, that categories of more narrow ideas are built on more densely
structured networks. Our research is based on a large-scale dataset from a global high-tech firm involving more than
20.000 ideas submitted and developed via an online platform. Each idea is selected into different categories depending
on the initial aim of the idea. Multiple levels of analysis are in play, since we rely on data on innovation categories
containing: 1) multiple ideas, 2) the characteristics of individuals involved in the given ideation process and 3) the social
network activities of these individuals. The dependent variables are based on the idea level. Our research objective is
two-fold: We explore how different kinds of social networks develop around varying idea categories and explain how
particular social network structures facilitate some ideas to fare more successfully than others.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventSunbelt Social Networks Conference: International Network for Social Network Analysis - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 21 May 201326 May 2013
Conference number: XXXIII


ConferenceSunbelt Social Networks Conference

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ID: 66285396