Developing absorptive capacity for recombinant innovation
Purpose The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to understand recombinant innovation (RI) as a potentially significant part of an open innovation (OI) strategy and second, to suggest key routines which would underpin a capability for RI, locating these within the context of enhanced absorptive capacity (AC). Finally, the paper considers how such routines could be developed, drawing on some case examples.
Design/methodology/approach The authors start with a literature review on OI and use the lens of AC to explore challenges in finding, assimilating and deploying external knowledge posed by the emerging knowledge-rich context of OI. The authors then explore one OI route – RI – and suggest a model framework for operationalizing it based on routines for search, acquisition, assimilation and deployment.
Findings The authors suggest three sets of routines required for RI, around abstract-driven search (ADS), brokerage and cyclic adaptation. As with much of the now widely available toolkit for OI, the challenge is one of moving from potential to realized opportunity and this will require investments in learning and capability building.
Originality/value The authors suggest that for organizations to enhance their AC around RI, three core routines are needed: ADS, brokerage and cyclic adaptation.