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Distilling and renewing science team search through external engagement

Conor O'Kane, Jarrod Haar, Vincent Mangematin, Urs Daellenbach and Sally Davenport

Research Policy, 2021, vol. 50, issue 6

Abstract: To navigate the uncertainty inherent in science driven innovation, academic science teams must often undertake search through engagement with external actors. While both broad and narrow external engagement are beneficial to team search during innovation, it remains unclear how science teams coordinate and utilise engagement across time. To address this issue, we tracked the search activity of a publicly funded medical technology team in New Zealand over five and a half years. Our inductive analysis leads to a grounded theory process model showing how academic science teams manage their search activities during innovation across three stages of external engagement: devising and coordinating, assimilating, and distilling. Our study makes three contributions. First, we show that science team search progresses from broad engagement with clinicians, patients, and industry to narrow and stronger engagement between a select set of within team and external actors from these communities at later stages of the innovation process. Second, our research shows how science teams renew their search activities during innovation. As engagements around original project objectives are distilled to fewer and stronger engagements, other team resources are released and redeployed to pursue more exploratory avenues of research in tandem, thereby re-instating broader and more distant search within the team's innovation activities. Third, we introduce to the literature and detail two transition points (i.e., brokering and control) through which science team search is distilled. We discuss the implications of our findings for research policy and practice.

Keywords: Innovation network; Exploration; Search; Science teams; External engagement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:respol:v:50:y:2021:i:6:s0048733321000640

DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2021.104261

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