Innovation 3.0: Embedding into community knowledge - The relevance of trust as enabling factor for collaborative organizational learning

The paper describes a conceptual approach for a next-generation innovation paradigm in the Digital Economy called “Embedded Innovation” (Innovation 3.0). The notion of“embeddedness” is introduced to mark the increasing challenge of integrating firms into their surrounding communities to assure the absorption of their exploitable knowledge. Trust is supposed to be the enabling parameter in balancing multiple relationships with communities.

In the paper the evolutionary steps from Closed via Open to Embedded Innovation in SME are described. On the basis of the firm’s different relationships and knowledge flows with respect to its surrounding communities different modes of how to cultivate trust are defined and how this may unfold leverage effects for organizational embedding into communities. Finally, hypotheses on different organizational antecedents are developed that may be appropriate to embed the firm into communities with the aim of ensuring knowledge absorption and collaborative learning.