The Craft of Openness: Absorptive Capacity at the Individual Level and Innovation

Ammon Salter, Imperial College Business School, UK

Despite the acknowledgement that individuals are central to absorptive capacity, researchers have tended to overlook the roles that individuals play in absorbing external knowledge. By probing absorptive capacity at the individual level, we seek to enrich our understanding of how individuals learn from external knowledge and how such efforts shape their ability to innovate. We argue that individuals gain a combinatorial advantage by engaging in multiple components of absorptive capacity. In particular, we theorize – and empirically substantiate - that knowledge assimilation plays a critical role to enabling individuals to gain from the use of external knowledge. Drawing upon rich data on R&D scientists, we find support for our hypotheses.

About the speaker
Dr Ammon Salter is Professor of Innovation and Technology Management, Imperial College Business School. He is also Research Director of the UK Innovation Research Centre, a new joint research and knowledge exchange programme with Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge, and the co-director of the Innovation Studies Centre at Imperial College London. His main research interest is the management of technological innovation, examining how organisations can harness external networks to help them innovate more successfully. His most recent projects focus on how firm’s can profit from unsolicited innovative ideas, university-industry collaborations and the role of networks in shaping innovative outcomes. He has published widely on these topics in journals, such as Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Research Policy and Industrial and Corporate Change.

Venue: UNU-MERIT Conference Room

Date: 19 May 2011

Time: 14:00 - 15:00  CET