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The First Step to Successful Innovation? Choosing the Right Partners

In today’s globalized business environment, firms are no longer developing innovations in a vacuum. Instead, companies often work with partners from all over the world to develop innovative strategies and products.

While these networks can be promising in terms of innovation, they are also complex to manage due to the myriad cultural, legal, institutional and other differences that each firm brings to the table. In a new paper, “The Cross-National Configuration of Brokerage Triads: Effects on the Impact and Radicalness of Innovation,” Wharton management professor Exequiel Hernandez and Wharton doctoral student Sarath Balachandran examine what is the optimal mix of domestic and foreign partners in a particular network. What they found is that it depends on what type of innovative solution a firm or group of firms is trying to produce.

The research is supported by Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management.

Hernandez recently discussed his findings with Knowledge@Wharton. More: