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The Digital Transformation of Search and Recombination in the Innovation Function: Tensions and an Integrative Framework*

Lanzolla, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-6590-2668, Pesce, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-3405-8396 & Tucci, C. L. (2021). The Digital Transformation of Search and Recombination in the Innovation Function: Tensions and an Integrative Framework*. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 38(1), pp. 90-113. doi: 10.1111/jpim.12546


Search and recombination are important mechanisms in the creativity phase of innovation. Digital transformation and the resulting pervasive digitalization of the innovation function have often been associated with increasing possibilities for search and recombination. In this paper, by systematically integrating the search and recombination literature with the literature on digitalization, we demonstrate that digitalization may engender new idiosyncratic tensions in the organizational antecedents of search and recombination and, by implication, in their likely outcomes. We propose that, depending on the interactions among the idiosyncratic tensions identified herein, knowledge recombination might spur very different outcomes, including knowledge layering, knowledge integration, knowledge grafting, or even no recombination at all (which we label “search for the sake of search”). These outcomes may not always be the initially planned desired outcomes. Finally, we provide implications of our integrative framework pertaining to product development and to organizing for innovation.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. Journal of Product Innovation Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Product Development & Management Association This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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