Urenio Watch Watch: Collaborative Innovation

New Product Development through Networked Communities

The article entitled “Knowledge Creation through Networked Strategic Communities: Case Studies on New Product Development in Japanese Companies” provides a new point of view regarding the knowledge management of new product development, a high-tech field requiring the merging and integration of different technologies.

The article tells the story of how Fujitsu Ltd. faced the challenge of merging and integrating the different technologies of broadband networking, computers and software and multimedia processing. The company structured strategic communities which transcended its normal business divisions, extended them to include customers and equipment manufacturers, and then networked them together under a leadership group to exploit an exciting range of market opportunities afforded by latest developments in video streaming, 3G mobile phone protocols and new-generation MPEG-4 live video cameras.

The author shows how deep collaborative involvement, a sense of shared values and the swift establishment of embedded communities allowed Fujitsu to bring its new product developments to market while others’ lagged behind.

He extends his examination to show how the dialectical leadership style of the Leader Group mixed participative with directive control, giving it the synthesizing capability to balance paradoxes in the networked SCs. This allowed the Group to lead a dynamic innovative process through which core technologies were first integrated and then further improved as the communities aimed for their essential desired output e the creation of completely new knowledge.

Knowledge creation through networked strategic communities: Case studies on new product development in Japanese companies
Long Range Planning, Volume 38, Issue 1, February 2005, Pages 27-49
Mitsuru Kodama