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Article

Harvesting reflective knowledge exchange for inbound open innovation in complex collaborative networks: an empirical verification in Europe

Papa A., Chierici R., Ballestra L. V., Meissner D., Orhan M. A.

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the effects of open innovation (OI) and big data analytics (BDA) on reflective knowledge exchange (RKE) within the context of complex collaborative networks. Specifically, it considers the relationships between sourcing knowledge from an external environment, transferring knowledge to an external environment and adopting solutions that are useful to appropriate returns from innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

This study analyzes the connection between the number of patent applications and the amount of OI, as well as the association between the number of patent applications and the use of BDA. Data from firms in the 27 European Union countries were retrieved from the Eurostat database for the period 2014–2019 and were investigated using an ordinary least squares regression analysis.

Findings

Because of its twofold lens based on both knowledge management and OI, this study sheds light on OI collaboration modes and highlights the crucial role they could play in innovation. In particular, the results suggest that OI collaboration modes have a strong effect on innovation performance, stimulating the search for RKE.

Originality/value

This study furthers a deeper understanding of RKE, which is shown to be an important mechanism that incentivizes firms to increase their efforts in the innovation process. Further, RKE supports firms in taking full advantage of the innovative knowledge they generate within their inter-organizational network.