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Fostering Innovation Networks in a Digital Era

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FINDER (Fostering Innovation Networks in a Digital Era)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-10-31

FINDER sets out to Foster Innovation Networks in a Digital Era in a European Industrial Doctorate partnership of 4 years between Radboud University and Atos to prepare a new generation of business and entrepreneurship researchers contributing to the development of innovative ecosystems in a digital era. This project (FINDER) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813095.

ESR Track 1’s research on collaborative innovation management addresses gaps in organizational sciences literature concerning the sociopolitical forces behind technological innovation as it occurs between firms and other firms, between firms and regulators, and between firms and society. There are no clear indications that businesses engaged in high-tech ecosystems will divert away from collaborative innovation approaches, which makes this research and the tools it produces timely and useful in elucidating the challenges that practitioners presently face and will face in the future.

ESR Track 3’s research is relatively embryonic, for the ESR only joined the project in November 2020 following a resignation. This ESR has already achieved considerable progress, focusing on how uncertainty in times of crisis triggers organizational transformation. As the world has been rocked by economic, pathologic, and climate-related disasters with no signs of slowdown in the future, understanding how companies survive and adapt to major turbulence is crucial for strategic management scholarship’s understanding.

ESR Track 4’s also deals with the social forces at play in interfirm decision-making. The role of positional icons such as CEOs is significant in events such as mergers and acquisitions. This research uses novel methods to examine the signals that CEOs advertently and inadvertently cast when announcing their M&A decisions, which promises to broaden the managerial sciences’ scope on the applicability of investigative machine learning.

ESR Track 5’s focus on venture capital (VC) as a fuel for the entrepreneurship of technological innovation provides a different lens on the social aspect of interorganizational relationships. Quantitative research methods will allow this track to investigate how the VCs’ reputation interplays with their funding targets’ performance. The practical applications of this research will largely be for the parties engaged in this dialogue, but as investing overall becomes more democratized, insights therefrom promise to become more widely applicable as they age.
At this particular moment in time, the FINDER Project is fully operational and various boards to monitor and support the projects progress are in place. 4 ESRs unboarded the program, 3 already started their secdondment at one of Atos' major European business hubs. Developments in their tracks and more elaborate information on the FINDER Project can be found on our website: https://thefinderproject.eu/

Training: ESR Tracks 1, 4, and 5 have submitted their research proposals; all three research proposals have been accepted by the Radboud Scientific Advisory Committee. ESR Track 3 is currently developing his proposal. ESRs also partook in the FINDER-led Research Excellence Workshop in February 2020 as well as the Strategic Management Society Berkeley Doctoral Workshop held virtually in November 2020.

ESR Track 1 has completed 24 ECTS of doctoral training, ESR Track 3 has not yet completed ECTS, but is currently taking training that will allow for 9 ECTS of doctoral training, ESR Track 4 has completed 17 ECTS of doctoral training, and ESR Track 5 has completed 26 ECTS of doctoral training.

In the course of the research methodologically outlined in each proposal, some outputs have already come to fruitio: manuscript submissions and acceptances to the 2020 and 2021 European Group for Organization Studies Colloquia, 2021 Academy of Management Annual Conference, and 2021 European Academy of Management Annual Conference. One submission to the 2021 International Process Symposium is awaiting an acceptance decision. Additionally, two of the ESRs have submitted a teaching case to the SAGE Business Case repository and are awaiting a publication decision.
The FINDER research scope spans industries and job functions, requiring candidates to synthesize complex information and to approach problems nimbly in a manner that can be transferred to both academics and practitioners. FINDER’s integrated curriculum prepares students to drive change at the vanguard of business and technology by challenging them to consider multiple perspectives and to create innovative solutions to problems in such a way that they are not only profitable to business but also relevant and responsible towards society at large.

FINDER accommodates 4 high caliber fulltime PhD positions, facilitating first class PhD-training plus as first class in-company training at the crossroads of Fintech academia and business. A team of affiliated Marie Curie FINDER PhD Fellows investigate the innovative collaborative arrangement amongst organizations –grassroots, incumbents and the wider society– as they inclusively explore digital technology for new product or market development. The projects:
1. Managing innovation in the networked organisation
RQ: How do digital technologies influence systems, practices and processes for the effective management of innovation within and across organisations?
3. Seizing the future: fostering collaborative entrepreneurship
RQ: What are the characteristics of alternative business models in digital ecosystems? Which factors facilitate their development?
4. Alternative business models in digital ecosystems
RQ: What are the internal and external contingencies that explain the diverse organisational arrangements seen in new ventures? How does the internal organisation of entrepreneurial ventures interact with governance, ownership, industry and
geography?
5. Effective strategies and policies for enhanced social payoff, during and after digital transformation
RQ: What are the roles, challenges and opportunities for incumbent firms and newcomers for a sustainable transition to digital technologies? How can organisations overcome struggles over the meaning of sustainability, within and across
organisational fields, as the digital ecosystem unfolds?

Promising future outcomes:
Track 1 continued ethnographic research will provide insights that non-FINDER academics have commented on as important to the field, with a closeness to data not often seen in this discipline. The material outcomes of this will be a journal publication aimed for a late 2021 submission as well as at least one other publication submitted in the final year of the project.
Track 3 expects to submit research proposal by July 2021, and a follow-on series of datasets pertaining to this trajectory. Further track-specific developments must occur before these can be specified any further.
Track 4, particular to the employed methodology, is amassing a dataset of CEO M&A announcements which will provide a baseline for further analysis in this track for future academic and white paper submissions.
Track 5 experienced pandemic-specific delays that necessitated a shift in data collection; nonetheless, this track expects the submission of the first research paper in the course of 2021.
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