Christiane RauUniversity of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Wels, AustriaAnne-Katrin NeyerMartin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale, GermanyKatja Krämer-HelmerUniversity of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Wels, Austria


Informed by the open innovation paradigm and forced by increasingly complex products and services, it is presumed that more heterogeneous people are involved in innovation projects than ever before. This heterogeneity is a constraint that calls for special attention. While the heterogeneity of development teams can push creativity, it can also lead to inefficient collaboration. Unrecognized failures of knowledge sharing in early phases of the innovation process (e.g. about different understandings of customer requirements) can lead to severe problems, such as excessive costs for rework, when discovered only in market tests.

Intuition as well as extensive scientific evidence suggests that knowledge sharing in innovation projects is important and should be supported. While this argument is nowadays trivial to state, it is not trivial to achieve. Our experience in accompanying open innovation projects over the past six years indicates that companies regularly struggle to manage knowledge sharing among diverse, interdisciplinary coworkers.

Different mental models, previously acquired competencies, and resources can impede knowledge sharing among ...

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