Chapter

Creative Accumulation: Integrating New and Established Technologies in Periods of Discontinuous Change

Anna Bergek, Christian Berggren and Thomas Magnusson

in Knowledge Integration and Innovation

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693924
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730580 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693924.003.0011
Creative Accumulation: Integrating New and Established Technologies in Periods of Discontinuous Change

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Mainstream innovation literature often contrasts two types of innovative processes: ‘creative destruction’, where new entrants and new technologies displace previously dominant firms, and ‘incremental innovation’, where established firms gradually improve existing technologies. This chapter deals with the knowledge integration challenges embedded in a third type of innovative process: ‘creative accumulation’. The chapter shows the difficulties posed by this process, as it requires firms both to source new knowledge and to integrate it with established but evolving knowledge into functioning processes and products. Based on studies of advanced gas turbines and fuel-efficient automotive power trains, the chapter explores processes of creative accumulation in terms of (a) how established companies struggle with the creativity aspect, (b) how they source new knowledge and relate it to their existing knowledge base (the accumulation aspect), (c) the integration challenges implied by these two aspects, and (d) the implications for industry-level competition and firm-level organizational structure.

Keywords: creative accumulation; knowledge integration; technology sourcing; competence-enhancing innovation

Chapter.  12622 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Innovation

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