Title: Loci of Network Dynamics and Their Impact on Innovation Outcomes: R&D Consortia in the Dutch Water Sector
Authors: Remco Mannak, Arjan Markus, Marius Meeus. Jörg Raab and Alexander Smit
Network theory widely acknowledges that the locus of innovation resides in the network. This insight, however, has mainly been based on results from static analyses of network structures. Recent network studies increasingly recognize the fundamentally dynamic nature of networks, complicating the network structure-innovation outcome nexus. Putting the network structural argument to the test, this study investigates different loci of network dynamics in relation to innovation outcomes. The study especially investigates the role of two network features, clusters and connectors. Both clusters in networks and connectors between these clusters can range from stable to dynamic, resulting in four configurations of network dynamics. The relevance of these configurations is demonstrated by our analysis on network dynamics in the Dutch water sector between 1982 and 2004.
The innovation outcomes of research and development (R&D) consortia embedded in these networks vary strongly, contingent on the configuration of network dynamics. Blending the benefits of dynamics versus stability (i.e. novelty value versus network routines) with the advantages of clusters versus connectors (i.e. organizing capacity versus access to diverse knowledge pools), the ‘dynamic connector-stable cluster’ and ‘stable connector-dynamic cluster’ configurations facilitate superior innovation outcomes, relative to the other configurations.