They develop an agent-based model in which the social network of interactions is specified as a knowledge resource, and knowledge integration is seen as the process by which the resource can be applied to innovation. The results of the simulation exercises show that the initial architecture of acquaintance networks is a crucial factor for innovation.

Innovating has proven to be more than simply equating endowments of initial skills with firm performance. In fact, the performance of the system showed high sensitivity to the arrangement of the firm’s initial location in the social network. Moreover, the way in which acquaintance networks were mobilized emerged as a key determinant of innovation patterns.

The model presented here is a relatively theoretical, stylized model and the authors employ it to draw some general, albeit preliminary conclusions, while illustrating some of the theory relevant to the issues discussed. It is argued that the model might serve the purpose of setting an agenda for further research along this line of investigation—that is, knowledge integration patterns and firms partnerships formation.

Read the article (external link to journal)