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Orchestrating Innovative SME Networks. The Case of “HealthInnovation”

Anne Gausdal () and Etty Nilsen

Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 2011, vol. 2, issue 4, 586-600

Abstract: This paper develops a framework for the orchestrating process of networks of independent small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). The existing literature on network orchestration is developed for large networks with a dominant hub firm managing up to 500 members. We argue that SME networks need a somewhat different approach to orchestration. We find the literature on communities of practice appropriate to that aim. The empirical base is a longitudinal study of the development of HealthInnovation, a regional network of independent SMEs. Originally, the network emerged as “a good idea” in the regional university, but it soon proved to be poorly rooted in the regional industry and in the public sector. Nonetheless, as a result of intensive orchestration, it has become a dynamic and innovative network with several important results: two new firms, several new research and innovation projects, and the development of a new subject at the university. In this study, we ask: What are the processes of successfully orchestrating innovative SME networks? We maintain that in order to successfully orchestrate such networks, the orchestration process consists of managing knowledge mobility, managing innovation appropriability, managing network stability, and managing network health. Managing network health is our specific contribution. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Keywords: Network orchestration; Network leadership; Network failure; SME networks; Communities of practice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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