Communities that support innovation have been referred to as Communities of Innovation (CoI),Communities for Innovation,Innovation Communities,Open Innovation Communities,Communities of Creation.
Coakes and Smith (2007) define Communities of Innovation (CoI) as a form of Communities of Practice that are dedicated to the support of innovation. They suggest that CoI can be formed from champions of innovation and their social network and that CoI are safe places for the creation and support of innovatory ideas. COI are groups made up of motivated individuals working together towards a common goal, not because of orders from their superiors, but because they are convinced of their common cause.
Sawhney and Prandelli (2000) proposed the model of Communities of Creation as a new governance mechanism for managing knowledge found in different companies for the purpose of innovation. Intellectual property rights are considered to be owned by the entire community although the community is governed by a central firm which acts as the sponsor and defines the ground rules for participation. This model lies between the closed hierarchical model and the open market-based model.
These are Communities that take total financial, administrative and operational control over the development of their communities. Democratically elected and answerable to the whole community. It is simply an extension of the community saving societies that have existed for centuries. The prime objective is sustainable environmental and social development controlled by the skills and finance available. It provides employment, improves the future prospects for all participants and their children, and injects a sense of pride and achievement. Using locally available materials linked to new environmentally friendly cost effective construction materials will produce affordable housing, schools and roads.
Traditionally, the company is the most efficient mean of managing knowledge belonging to different people. The primary motivation is job security, career advancement and recognition. Lee and Cole (2003) argue for a community structure for knowledge creation that crosses firms' boundaries. To substantiate their argument they put forth the case of how "thousands of talented volunteers, dispersed across organizational and geographical boundaries, collaborate via the Internet to produce a knowledge-intensive, innovative product of high quality," the Linux kernel (Lee and Cole 2003, p. 633). The Linux community has proved to be a very efficient mean of managing knowledge belonging to different people. The primary motivation is value system, recognition and potential career advancement or hop. Lee and Cole (2003) argue that research on knowledge management has to date focused on hierarchy and therefore has not adequately addressed the mobilization of distributed knowledge, knowledge that is dispersed among many people. They note that, as illustrated by the Linux case, "the advent of the Internet and Web-based technologies has enabled specialized communities to convene, interact, and share resources extensively via electronic interfaces," even across firms' boundaries (Lee and Cole 2003, p. 633). People are able to contribute effectively outside their working hours. coordination of the work (including feedback) is possible even when people are working from different locations. The catchment area is therefore much larger and the critical mass of software engineers required to develop and maintain the Linux project was therefore achievable.
Successful COIs increase innovations within an organization. They therefore have the potential to contribute to organizational ambidexterity, which refers to the organization's dual capabilities of managing current business and being flexible and adaptable to meet future changes and demands.
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