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Community, Economic Creativity, and Organization$
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Ash Amin and Joanne Roberts

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545490.001.0001

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Breakthrough Innovation and the Shaping of New Markets: The Role of Communities of Practice 1

Breakthrough Innovation and the Shaping of New Markets: The Role of Communities of Practice 1

(p.178) 7 Breakthrough Innovation and the Shaping of New Markets: The Role of Communities of Practice1
Community, Economic Creativity, and Organization

Aurélie Delemarle

Philippe Larédo

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses how the creation of a new inter-organizational communities of practice can help the ‘break out’ of dominant technological paradigms. It focuses on the crystallization role that communities of practice can play and on how they can provide a space in which new technological options can gain credibility. It draws on in-depth analysis of one case study — the emergence of asynchronous logic — an alternative architecture to the prevalent clock-based logic. It shows that although the communities of practice studied recognized the value of asynchronous logic, it was unable to change the wider institutional environment, linked in this case with the establishment of one standard which would enable the microelectronics industry to adopt this technology. In light of this, the chapter concludes that inter-organizational expert communities of practice should be seen as enablers of multiple explorations in the life cycle of breakthrough innovations rather than as facilitators of exploitation.

Keywords:   breakthrough innovation, crystallization, selection mechanisms, asnchronous logic

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