To Complete a Puzzle, You Need to Put the Right Pieces in the Right Place: Exploring Knowledge Recombination and the Creation of New Inventions

Holmer Jan Kok

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Understanding the origins of valuable new inventions is of paramount importance to academics, policy makers, and managers. Knowledge recombination – i.e. the creation of new inventions through a recombination of existing knowledge components – can help us understand when and how valuable new inventions are generated. Knowledge recombination therefore plays a central role in the conceptual and empirical framework of existing studies. Despite its widespread application, however, the majority of studies apply a rather superficial conceptual and empirical treatment of knowledge recombination. As a result, the process of knowledge recombination is still poorly understood in many areas. Therefore, the core research objective of this dissertation is to substantially enrich our understanding of knowledge recombination, creating new insights about the origins of new inventions. To achieve this research goal, we conduct three empirical projects on knowledge recombination using unique data from the fuel cell industry. In chapter 2, we investigate how the value of a knowledge component in knowledge recombination depends on how recently and frequently it has been reused in the past. In chapter 3, we study the advantages and disadvantages of cooperation with R&D alliance partners who have broadly applicable component knowledge. In chapter 4, we investigate factors that enable organizations to harvest the problem-solving benefits of formal interorganizational cooperation in the context of grand societal challenges. Together, this dissertation yields important new insights into key elements of knowledge recombination, helping us to better understand how we can stimulate the creation of valuable new inventions.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Faems, Dries, Supervisor
    • de Faria, Pedro, Co-supervisor
    Award date22-Mar-2018
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-034-0467-7
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-0466-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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