chapter  7
28 Pages

Building innovative assets and dynamic coherence in multi-technology companies

ByJENS FRØSLEV CHRISTENSEN

While a large empirical research effort has been devoted to studying the dynamics of the individual innovation process, on the one hand, and the dynamics of the firm’s product or business diversification, on the other, the dynamics of the technology base has attracted much less research interest. However, empirical studies (Pavitt et al. 1989; Granstrand et al. 1990; Oskarsson 1993; Granstrand et al. 1997) show that the trend for technology diversification has been even more pronounced-at least within technology-intensive firms —than the trend for product diversification. In other words, the expansion of the firm’s base of skills or capabilities in terms of technical fields is greater than the expansion of the firm’s portfolio of products. This indicates a strong underlying tendency for increasing diversity of the technology base that, again, seems to have provided a strong impetus stimulating the rising managerial and academic attention directed at technology management and strategy in recent years. Thus, the evolution of the multi-technology company and its efforts to manage the increasingly diverse technology base has made it even more necessary than before to make a distinction between lower-order innovative/ technical capabilities and higher-order competences in managing technology. So far one critical aspect of higher-order management of technology has received little systematic attention in the literature, namely the competence in pursuing dynamic coherence of the technology base.