Learning from Innovation Collaborations - An exploratory study of learning practices and challenges in innovation collaborations by large organizations in Sweden

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: Innovations are regarded as a principal source of competitiveness and renewal in organizations. Given the complex nature of products and services along with the pressure of faster time to market which increases the inherent risk of any innovation, it is now almost impossible to constantly innovate for any organization with collaborating with others. Innovation collaborations are now more commonplace than ever. The connection between learning and innovation is a close one; learning enables innovation and the innovation process itself is a learning process. Therefore, it is imperative now that organizations focus on the learning aspects of innovation collaborations and effectively learn from them. The thesis was aimed to explore how large companies in Sweden capture value from innovation collaborations in the form of learning, through investigating the learning practices in the innovation collaborations and identifying the challenges that impedes the learning process. The methodology used were literature review and an explorative cross-sectional study conducted through semi-structured interviews, which were analysed using thematic analysis method. The learning practices were investigated in connection with selected prominent learning concepts that are relevant in innovation collaboration context. The identified challenges of learning were analysed at both organizational and partnership level, leading to the conclusion that learning in innovation collaboration is a complex process intertwined in between individual, organizational, and inter-organizational level. Large organizations’ outlook towards innovation collaborations and their partners largely shapes the collaboration dynamics that eventually impacts the successful management of collaboration and learning.

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