Continuously innovating is known to provide firms with a competitive edge over rival firms. As innovations are often created in networks, a firm's partners exert an influence on the focal firm's innovative outcome. Although many studies deal with innovation networks and open innovation as a means to explore external knowledge and exploit knowledge externally e.g., dealing with characteristics of partnership agreements, there is virtually no research regarding characteristics of external partners. Namely, whether a focal firm's partners are innovative themselves and what the effects of this innovativeness on a focal firm's innovative outcome might be. This study considers different types of partners such as customers and suppliers and deals with the differential impact of partners` innovativeness on a focal firm's knowledge stock, absorptive capacity (ACAP), and innovation success.
Drawing on literature on open innovation and ACAP and employing a survey in the manufacturing industry, we show whether a certain partner types' innovativeness is linked to innovation success, knowledge stock, and ACAP of a focal firm. E.g., we found that only the innovativeness of firms organized in clusters is positively and directly linked to innovation success, while customers' innovativeness influences positively and directly certain components of ACAP and knowledge stock.
A common challenge facing firms is how to effectively embed strategic business-IT alignment into daily routines at the operational level. Based on our findings from following an alignment project in a global aerospace industry leader for almost two years, we put forward a framework, which we call OperA, for establishing operational level business-IT alignment. This framework has three dimensions - knowledge, communication and trust, and identifies alignment paths for three strategic situations faced by firms: major planned changes, regular operations and major unplanned changes. Each path is anchored in a different dimension of the framework. The global aerospace case shows how different mechanisms used for each path improve business processes and enable successful change. The case also revealed frequent pitfalls and dependencies between the dimensions and associated mechanisms that top managers should be aware of as they strive to achieve operational business-IT alignment.