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Winning Through Boundaries Innovation

Communities of Boundaries Generate Convergence

Mitsuro Kodama

At present, many companies consider «knowledge» the most important element and the benchmark for maintaining an enduring competitive advantage. The process of strategically acquiring both new boundaries knowledge and convergence knowledge to generate boundaries innovation becomes an important element in acquiring dynamic organizational capability. This is essential for rapidly establishing a company’s market position in new markets and technologies.
This book discusses from a micro-viewpoint different strategies for companies’ sustainable generation of boundaries innovation through the creation of both types of knowledge. It focuses on strategic management activities centered on innovation processes (incremental innovation and radical innovation) in a company.
In the future, the knowledge convergence processes practiced by individuals, groups and organizations inside and outside the company will form the basis of dynamic innovation activities. These will continually create new boundaries knowledge and convergence knowledge, as well as the organizational capability for supporting these.
The «knowledge convergence firm» this book proposes is a new corporate model that achieves sustainable boundaries knowledge by promoting creative, productive friction among people, and between and amongst communities. It does this by implementing knowledge convergence processes at diverse boundaries within and outside the company.
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Research methodology and data collection

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The author adopted a qualitative research methodology to acquire the rich data needed to facilitate the generation of theoretical categories the author could not derive satisfactorily from existing theory. In particular, due to the exploratory nature of this research and my interest in identifying the main people, events, activities and influences that affect the progress of innovation, the author selected the grounded theory-based interpretation of data, and blended it with the case study design and with ethnographic approaches (Locke, 2001).

The research data came primarily from longitudinal study spanning a 10-year period (2004–13), in which the author examined new knowledge convergence processes with respect to new products, services and business development at a large company in the competitive high-tech field. This research paradigm, which was based on an in-depth qualitative study, has some similarity to ethnography (Atkinson and Hammersley, 1994) and other forms of research (Lalle, 2003) that derive their theoretical insights from naturally occurring data including interviews or questionnaires (Marshall & Rossman, 1989).

The author has served as a project manager and leader of new product and service development in NTT and NTT DOCOMO (1985–2003), Japan’s largest company in ICT field. This actual experience in businesses provided the author with direct knowledge and detailed information to enhance the accuracy of the empirical analyses in this research. Thus, the author gained research data and insights alongside or on the back of interventions.

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