European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 1087: Establishing Relationships with New Suppliers Having Distant Knowledge to Target Discontinuous Innovation

Sihem Ben Mahmoud Jouini () and Florence Charue-Duboc ()

Abstract: A discrepancy exists in the literature regarding the type of suppliers to consider when targeting discontinuous innovation (DI). Some authors suggest that DI require leveraging knowledge from a selection of familiar and trustful suppliers, whereas others claim that DI requires leveraging distant knowledge from new suppliers. The authors argue that establishing relationships with a new supplier mastering knowledge distant from the firm’s one, requires a specific process. Based on a longitudinal study in a firm that developed such relationships and succeeded in enhancing DI, they underline three characteristics of the approach adopted: (i) proposing an open enough formulation to give the suppliers the opportunity to value their competencies but well documented, (ii) having a structured and transparent process, supporting a mutual progressive commitment and (iii) dedicating a specific entity with access to the top management and technical specialists, with a global vision of the questions to be tackled.

Keywords: Discontinuous innovation; early supplier involvement; leveraging external knowledge

38 pages, January 5, 2014

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