Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 16

Knowledge Reuse for Innovation Author(s): Ann Majchrzak, Lynne P. Cooper, Olivia E.

Neece Reviewed work(s): Source: Management Science, Vol. 50, No. 2 (Feb., 2004), pp. 174-188 Published by: INFORMS Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30046057 . Accessed: 23/11/2011 01:16
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

INFORMS is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Management Science.

http://www.jstor.org

MANAGEMENT

SCIENCE

inf
DOI10.1287/mnsc.1030.0116

Vol. 50, No. 2, February 2004,pp. 174-188 ISSN 0025-1909 10415002 10174 1EISSN1526-5501

c 2004INFORMS

Knowledge

Reuse

for

Innovation

of and Marshall School Business, of of Department Information Operations California, Management, University Southern LosAngeles, California 90089-1421, majchrza@usc.edu California Institute Technology, of California JetPropulsion Pasadena, 91109-8099, Laboratory, lynne.p.cooper@jpl.nasa.gov

Ann Majchrzak

Lynne P. Cooper Olivia E. Neece

Claremont Graduate California olivia.neece@earthlink.net School, Claremont, 91711, his study was conducted to better understandthe knowledge reuse process when radicalinnovation (e.g., experiments to prepare for human exploration of Mars) is expected. The researchinvolved detailing the knowledge reuse process in six case studies varying in degree of innovation. Across the six cases, a six-stage reuse-for-innovation process was identified consisting of three majoractions:reconceptualizethe problem and others' ideas to reuse; approach,including deciding to search for others' ideas to reuse; search-and-evaluate and develop the selected idea. Findings include (1) the need for an insurmountablegap in performanceto stimulate the decision to reuse others' knowledge; (2) the criticalimportanceof an adapter to bridge the idea source and recipient;(3) three layers of search-and-evaluate activities in which the first layer of scanning to find ideas to reuse and the last layer of detailed analysis of ideas are bridged by a layer of brief evaluations of ideas assessing the presence (or absence) of targeted informationabout each idea; and (4) the differentialuse of metaknowledgeabout each idea to facilitateproceedingthrough each search-and-evaluate layer. In addition, reusersin the more (versus less) innovative cases redefinedproblemsat the outset in nontraditionalways using analogies and extensions, ratherthan acceptingthe preexistingproblemdefinition;used a substantiallybroader search strategy with a greatervariety of search methods; and worked more closely with adapters during the latter stages of the reuse process. Keywords:knowledge management;knowledge transfer;innovation History:Accepted by Linda Argote, former departmenteditor;received March1, 2001. This paper was with the authors for 8 months for 2 revisions.

Pete, the projectmanager,read the Announcementof Opportunity,which called for the development of an instrument that autonomously detects and measures dust devils on Mars. Dust devils are notoriously difficult to predict and yet carry with them enough force to upset equipment, and dust so fine that it poses a hazard to futurehuman explorationof the Red Planet. As a 20-year veteran of space mission development, Pete considered the use of "standard"(if there is a standard for Mars) meteorological solutions but they didn't provide the advance-warningcapability.Moreover, it wasn't "sexy"enough for the NASA sponsors, so transfer of known practices wasn't feasible. Pete considereddeveloping a solution from scratch,but the project resources didn't allow the time or money. So Pete embarkedon a searchfor ideas thathe could reuse and adapt to innovate. What did Pete do to find those ideas, how did he evaluate them when he found them, and what are the implicationsof Pete's behaviors and decisions for knowledge management?These are the questions this paper addresses.

Introduction
Knowledge transfer is the process through which knowledge acquired in one situation is applied
174

to another (Argote and Ingram 2000). We adopt a broad definition of knowledge consistent with prior research: explicit knowledge such as drawings, analytic results, and scientific journal articles, as well as tacit knowledge such as insights, intuition, and implied assumptions (Beccerra-Fernandez and Sabherwal 2001, Grant 1996, Kogut and Zander 1992, Polanyi 1966, Teece 1981). Knowledge transfer can generally be subdivided into knowledge sharing (the process by which an entity's knowledge is captured; Appleyard 1996) and knowledge reuse (the process by which an entity is able to locate and use shared knowledge; Alavi and Leidner 2001). We are focused on knowledge reuse. In this paper, we are interested in knowledge reuse for the express purpose of facilitating the development of radically innovative solutions. Innovative solutions are defined as solutions that represent creative (i.e., novel and useful) ideas that are implemented (Amabile 1996). Radical innovation is differentiated from incremental innovation by involving discontinuous development where unprecedented improvements or performance features are achieved

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for


Science50(2),pp. 174-188,c2004 INFORMS Management

175 only acquired but also integrated across disparate sources of specialized knowledge. While acquisition may benefit from Nonaka's (1994) conversion of tacit into explicit knowledge, for example, and from Brown and Duguid's (1991)communities of practices, Grant argues that knowledge integration requires different-as yet underresearched-mechanisms. In addition to Grant'sclaims, there is researchfrom the literatureon innovation to indicate that the frameworks and findings from the KRRliteraturemay actually restrict,rather than facilitate, effective reuse for innovation.As one example, knowledge reuse is often thought to increase with initial shared experiences between source and recipient (Argote 1999, Brown and Duguid 1991, Hansen 1999, Kogut and Zander 1992,Nonaka 1994).That is, the more familiaryou are with a source, the more likely you are to reuse the source'sknowledge. However, researchon innovation diffusion (Rogers 1983), new product development (Dougherty 1992),creativity(Amabile1996,Unsworth 2001), and how people reuse knowledge when innovating (Swan 2001, Gray 2000) comes to the opposite conclusion:divergence and lackof shared experiences are critical for developing new ideas. For example, Hargadon and Sutton (1997) explain why IDEOis so productive at repeatedly generatinginnovative ideas: employees identify solutions in other domains that have nothing in common with their focal domain. Allen's (1977) research demonstratesthat innovators get creativeideas from a variety of sources, including searches of knowledge bases with unknown sources. Thus, knowledge reuse for radical innovation (KRI) may not rely on shared experiences between sources and recipients as completely as KRR. KRImay also differ from KRRin the evaluation criteria applied to knowledge being reused. While any knowledge is likely to be reinvented as it is reused (Argote 1999, Rice and Rogers 1980), adaptation of knowledge is likely to be greaterand more deliberate in radicalinnovation than in the transferof best practices. Does this greaterneed for adaptationaffect how knowledge is evaluated? For example, is knowledge that is being considered for reuse in a KRI process
evaluated not only for its reuse potential but also for its adaptation potential? KRI may also differ from KRR in the content of the knowledge being transferred. Szulanski (2000) and Zander and Kogut (1995) found that practices with clear cause and effect relationships that were codified and trainable were more easily transferred. However, because radical innovation involves the transfer and integration of largely tacit knowledge (Leonard and Sensiper 1998), the knowledge being transferred is likely to be ambiguous, incompletely codified, and complex. This requires reusers in a KRI

(Leiferet al. 2000). From a knowledge reuse perspective, reuse for radical innovation is the exploitation of existing diverse ideas previously unknown to the innovator when creating a new product or service (Armbrecht et al. 2001). Kogut and Zander (1992) describe this ability of the firm to generate new combinations of existing knowledge as combinativecapabilities. Grant (1996) argues that such a capability is a strategically significant resource to a competitive organization. Given the importanceof understandinghow these new combinations of knowledge are created, identifying ways to facilitate innovators' search and reuse behavior is an appropriate objective. If innovators limit their search for solutions to their current personal knowledge base or existing network of sources, the extent to which radical innovation is achieved will be limited (Leifer et al. 2000, Clark and Fujimoto 1991). When innovators reuse others' knowledge which was previously unknown to them, the creativity envelope is expanded beyond a small set of individuals (Armbrechtet al. 2001). Thus, a knowledge management system that expands the creativity envelope improves the researchand development process through quicker access and movement of new knowledge. Moreover, improving the use of knowledge in innovation has benefits to the practicalfield of knowledge management.According to a 1997 Ernst & Young survey of executives (cited in Holsapple and Joshi 2000), innovation is seen as the area of greatest payoff from knowledge management, even though such efforts to date have mostly focused on operational productivity improvements (Davenportet al. 1996).

There are several frameworks in the literature for understanding knowledge reuse. Grant (1996) categorizes these frameworks into those that focus on knowledge acquisition (or replication)and those that focus on knowledge integration. For example, studies on spillover effects of knowledge between related research programs, product generations, and manufacturing organizations, as well as studies of bestpractice transfers (see review by Argote 1999) focus on how a "recipient organization" acquiresand applies the knowledge of the "source organization" in an effort to replicatethe essential elements of the source's knowledge. Szulanski (2000) provides an example of a study with this "knowledge reuse as replication" (KRR) focus. Grant (1996), however, argues that knowledge acquisition is not necessarily an efficient approach when the objective is radical innovation. With radical innovation, knowledge is not

Existing Literature on Knowledge Reuse

176
process to find ways to understand the tacit knowledge being transferred. Clark (1996) and Star and Griesemer (1989) have theorized that tacit knowledge transfer is facilitated by the use of shared artifacts. These artifacts convey contextual information about the knowledge being shared, helping to clarify the meaning underlying ambiguous knowledge. This would suggest that physical artifacts may play a particularly important role in the KRI process. Finally, we do not know what a staged model for the KRI process looks like. Radical innovation proceeds less as stages from conceptualization to commercialization (as is found with incremental development) and more as sporadic trajectory changes in response to unanticipated events (Cheng and Van de Ven 1996, Leifer et al. 2000). For example, in radical innovation, idea generation and opportunity recognition do not occur at the front end as in incremental development, but sporadically throughout and often in response to organization, technical, and market discontinuities (Dougherty 1992). Thus, knowledge reuse that occurs within a radical innovation work process may not proceed as a staged model flowing from opportunity recognition to execution (Szulanski 2000) or tacit-to-explicit-to-tacit conversion (Nonaka 1994). For example, Thomke (1998) and Kelly (1970) suggest that tacit conversion in the form of experiments occur throughout the KRI process, not just at the beginning and end. This review suggests that researchers need to study KRI in its own right by examining how knowledge is reused during the actual work process of innovating. In particular, we are interested in answering the following questions: How is knowledge reused for radical innovation? Is this reuse process fundamentally different from previous studies depicting a KRR process?

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for


Science50(2),pp. 174-188,@2004INFORMS Management

1 Table

Our to Design ComparedEisenhardt's Study Recommendations Our design study

Eisenhardt's (1989) recommended steps

Two started: Used defined. Define research questions (1)Getting with from research constructs literature. question a constructs. priori JPL casesbased on picked specifically as innovative (2) Select 6 and Selected casesof specific population organization. to reuse or successful to vary along sampling replicate continuum. extend emergent theory. adopt/adapt with instruments to Initial interviews semistructured (3) Craft JPL staff knowledge management promote triangulation identified with data and andinnovators; cases among sources archival examined archival data data; investigators, to derive thoughts research initial on conducted structured questions; with 2 interviews atleast people per incases case; participant-observer in involvedinterpreting data. verbatim after field a as Collected transcripts; each (4)Enter insuch way if notes to overlap collection case,discussed to determine data additional and data, questions, orcases analysis. were needed. Wrote each separately. case Created data and up (5)Analyze within matrices identify to across across cases. patterns cases. Aseachcaseunfolded, discussed hypotheses by (6) Shape not notes to for extensivelyshape emerging looking replication used relationships constructs; among sampling iterative logic; casesto replicate modify or of next tabulationevidence refine foreach construct; emerging hypotheses. of definitionconstructs. with our literature Compared theory innovaby (7) Enfold transfer and results tion, NPD, knowledge comparing with literatures. and conflicting similar literature. casesanditerating about closure when Stopped adding (8)Reach matched when conclusions cases to stopadding and evidence, and to were between practical, interpretable theory iterating in not is anddata. Guideline participantsinvolvedanalysis. with Ended 6 cases. 6-10cases. center of over 5,000 employees (and on-site contractors) with a $1 billion budget, and is managed by the California Institute of Technology for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Started in the 1930s, JPL has conceived and executed missions to use robotic spacecraft to explore all of the solar system's known planets (except Pluto). Thus, JPL specializes in developing technologies and concepts that have not been used previously, i.e., radical innovation. The six cases were selected from an initial pool of 15 cases identified through interviews with managers at JPL. The pool of cases came from two projects that had been supported by internal JPL funds. These funds were earmarked to develop detailed proposals in response to a NASA announcement of opportunity (AO). In addition, only cases involving reuse

Our research question suggests a research design in which we build rather than test theory. Moreover, our research design requires examining reuse as part of the actual work process of innovation, requiring ethnographic research methods (Blackler 1995, Schultze and Boland 2000). Thus, we apply Eisenhardt's (1989) guidelines for theory-building case study research in conjunction with the guidelines for hypothesis-generation case study research offered by Yin (1984) and Klein and Myers (1999). Table 1 summarizes our study design, comparing it to recommendations made by Eisenhardt (1989). Case Selection. Our case study research involved collecting and comparing data from six cases of reuse for innovation at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). JPL is a federally funded research and development

Research Design

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for Science @2004 INFORMS 50(2), 174-188, Management pp.

177

2 Table

Brief ofSix Description Cases of Degree innovativeness Informants informant and role Manager Project (Reuser) Scientist (Reuser) Engineer (Participant) Engineer (Reuser/Adapter) Project Manager (Participant) Scientist (Participant) Project Manager (Reuser) Scientist/Engineer (Reuser) Scientist/Engineer (Reuser) Manager Project (Participant)

Case description*

1. Case Lidar to fit, design High (change form, and of Took notion a Laser Radar that used prototype waspreviously (Lidar) function) to detect hazards significantly and it as landing adaptedto operate an for the of devils Mars. on early warning system detecting presence dust 2. Case Electrometer design to (ELM) fit, High (change form, and Used and of devices measure that concepts principles industrial function) electrostatic on and them discharge earth, significantly adapted to measure electrostatic of dust effects propertiesMars anditsinteraction onmaterials equipment space and for (for suits) useonMars. 3. Case AFM Medium to design (change fitandform; Took of notion anatomic microscope originally inthe force used some to (AFM) change function) semiconductor to testsurface and it smoothness, adaptedto industry characterize on particles Mars. 4. Case AFM array Medium function minor and tip (change Took of AFM used scan in concept multiple tipsoriginally to increase speed change form) in in and it byoperatingparallel semiconductor industry, adaptedto instead for on of an provide redundancyoperation Mars through array single replaceable forAFM. tips 5. Case Electrometer materials Low to (ELM) (change fitandminor change set from inform) collection Adopted existing of materials Kennedy Center Space foruseinelectrometer. materialswell testdata already Actual as as were available. 6. Case Magnetic patches Not innovative changes fit) to (MAG) (minor used to fit Adopted previously Mars magnetic experiment onnewMars in mission different package. size

Engineer (Reuser/Adapter) Project Manager (Participant) Scientist (Participant) Scientist (Reuser) Engineer (Reuser) Engineer (Participant)

but case from #1. *All thefirst came Project

of knowledge which was not initially known to the innovator and that led to an innovation were considered. The cases in the pool were stratifiedby degree of innovation; innovation was defined as degree of discontinuity in form, fit, or function from generally accepted approaches to the same problems. The manager of both projectsalong with the participantobserver made judgments about the degree of innovation in each case and the level of confidence that the currentapproachwould continue beyond the proposal selection process into development.' From this pool, we selected six cases where confidence in the solution being continued into development was high, and which ranged from little innovation to substantial radical innovation. We stopped at studying six cases when theoreticalsaturationwas achieved. This number of six cases falls well within Eisenhardt's(1989) suggestion of 3-10 cases requiredfor theory building. The six cases are described in Table2.
1The JPL product development life cycle begins with concept development and proceeds through preliminarydesign, development, integrationand testing, and operations.To reduce risk, proposal teams strive to createas maturea concept as possible during proposalgeneration.In the two projectswe picked, concept development and preliminarydesign were part of the proposaldevelopment, afterwhich the projectteam underwenta NASA competitive selectionprocess.Thus, the six stages of knowledge reuse occurred during the concept developmentand preliminarydesign activities and, for Project1, continuedafter selection.

In sum, by selecting six reuse cases arrayed along a continuum of innovation, we believe we have met Yin's (1984)call for replicationlogic in case selection. In addition, we have met Eisenhardt's(1989) call for selection to be based on a population (i.e., as the population of cases of reuse for innovation) that controls for extraneousvariation.The six cases came from the same organization, JPL, thus controlling for organizational culture that encourages innovation (Amabile 1996). The six cases came from two similar projects, thus controlling for task differences, a factor found and by Becerra-Fernandez Sabherwal(2001) to affect reuse. Finally,all six cases were led by the knowledge same manager,thus controllingfor the importantrole played by projectmanagers in new product development efforts (Clarkand Fujimoto1991). Data Collection. Building on a tradition in the innovation literature of using retrospective tracer studies (Rogers 1983), data collection focused on developing a detailed timeline for each case. These timelines were developed based on review of documents (AO, final proposals, e-mails, and engineering notes) and repeated interviews with reusers in each case. A minimum of two informants per case were used in addition to the archival information. The informants included reusers and team members participatingin team discussions with the reusers.

178
The interview protocol consisted of a set of structured, open-ended questions asking informants to describe the knowledge they reused, reasons why they reused this knowledge, the problem that they were trying to solve with the reused knowledge, the initial state of their domain knowledge for solving the problem prior to finding the reused knowledge, a descriptionof the reused knowledge (in terms of the form, fit, and function it was serving when they discovered it), how the reused knowledge was discovered and evaluated, and what they did with the reused knowledge. Because the events had taken place a relatively short time before the interviews were conducted, the informantswere able to answer these detailed questions. Becausemultiple informants were used for each case, differences between the informants arose; however, these differences were generally attributableto the different roles that the different informants played, rather than to conflicts. Nevertheless, when differencesarose,we sharedthese with the informants to determine if our interpretations of the differences were correct. Thus, the multiple informants allowed us to generate a more comprehensivetimeline of events than we could have obtained from any single informant.2 In addition to the use of multiple informants,standardized interview protocol, and standardized data collection format of timelines, Eisenhardt(1989) recommends that theory-building case study research should consider the use of multiple investigatorswith complementaryinsights. We were fortunate because our researchteam consisted of a senior faculty member, a doctoral student intern who was given permission to join JPL'sknowledge management team for a year and spend time at JPLlearning the culture and context, and a development engineer who had participated in an operational (rather than innovationgeneration) capacity on the two projects and thus served as a participantobserver.To avoid bias during did the interviewing process, the participant-observer not conduct the interviews; however, her first-hand experience with the team provided a perspective not typically obtained through interviews. An example of a timeline (for the most-innovative case) is shown in
Figure 1.3

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for Science c INFORMS 50(2), 174-188, 2004 Management pp.

transfer process, and his process is conceptually similar to Rogers's (1983) well-respected innovationdecision process, we initially tried to code each action taken in the timeline by the stages offered by Szulanski (2000): "Formation of transfer seed," "Decision to transfer," "First day of use," and "Achievementof satisfactoryperformance." During the coding process, we found that the timeline actions did not fall neatly into Szulanski'sstages; nevertheless, there were sufficiently similar actions across the six cases that actions could be coded, then grouped by precedence ordering. The actions for all the cases were then displayed on a single chart to observe commonalities across the cases. A summary of this chart is shown in Table 3 and is described in the remainderof this section.4 Reconceptualization Stage For each case, the reuse process began not with the formation of a "transferseed," as suggested by Szulanski (2000),but with a definition of the problem. The participantshad the option to narrowly interpret the problem as portrayed in the NASA AO. In the least-innovative case (mag patches), they chose that option. In the other five cases, however, the respondents chose to redefine the problem in a way that would benefit from an infusion of as-yet unknown ideas, requiring the need for radical innovation. For example, in the most-innovativecase (Lidar),the participants chose not only to characterizethe meteorological phenomenon as called for in the AO but also to createan early warning system. In the atomic force microscope (AFM) design case, the reuser describes his reconceptualization: to The AO calledfor measurement be takenon parwere ticles of <1 micron.The traditional approaches as (size,samrejected imposingtoo manyconstraints high vacuum and voltple type and preparation, a So the scientistconsidered new age requirements). atomicforcemicroscope. approach, Respondents offered several reasons why they believed radical redefinitions were necessary. First,
these redefinitions were motivated by the competitive nature of the "marketplace," in which proposed Mars projects that were perceived as having greater impact on the scientific community were more likely to be selected in the NASA competitive process. The respondents had some belief that radically different ideas would offer the greatest benefits to the scientific community. Characteristics of the individual (i.e., recipient) also played a role in the redefinition
tableson which this summarytable 4The specificpattern-matching is based can be accessed on the senior author's website at wwwrcf.usc.edu/-~majchrza.

Results
Because Szulanski (2000) provides one of the few operationalizations of stages in the knowledge
timelines span differentperiods, but all start with concept development and include preliminarydesign activitieswhich culminated in a high-confidence commitment to a specific design under developapproach.Duringthe study period,the instruments ment reachedvaryingdegrees of maturityrangingfrom conceptual design to actualhardware. 3 The remainingtimelines can be accessed on the senior author's website at www-rcf.usc.edu/-majchrza.
2 The

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for


Science50(2),pp. 174-188,@2004INFORMS Management 179

1 Figure

for Timeline Lidar Design Example


traditional 1.2[C]R considers soln:measuring insideweather usingstandard phenomenon solns.Decides meteorological soln isn't sufficient because it doesn'tprovide advanced 3d or warning, imaging, measuresof velocity,size, and accompanying phenomenon. 1.11 Project engineer suggeststo R to look at husdata band's to see the kind of dataone gets fromlaser. 1.6 IS]R definessearch to includefindinglidarswithdifferentfunctions (sky,hazards in conditions terrain) different (stationary, scanning) 1.7 I[S R contacts rover scientists, engineers, researchers operations, via Internet, friends.

1.1 [C] R readsAO. Problem is: "In45 daysdevelopa tiny instrument that lightweight will autonomously detectand dust measure devilson Mars to characterize and strength of to frequency hazard later human exploration." 1.10 Project husband engineer's installson his serendipitously initialresultsfrom computer a prototype laserrangefinder whichprovides about info whererocksandhazards are to autonomously guidea lander during landing.

1.3 [C] R defines to problem require innovation: provide info on dust storms humans so will haveenough infoto understand andpredict hazardous weather conditions.

as 1.4[C]R uses radar an analogyforthe operating wantsa systemto do principle: fordustdevilswhat radars do forthunderstorms. Becauseradar can'tmeasure dust,substitutes Lidar becauseknowsLidar measures dust. 1.5 [DS]R asks:canwe do it ourselves? (Alt#2 discarded too expensive.) as

1.12 [C] R looksat husband's data whichvisuallyindicates benefitsof conceptot usinglaserrangefinder. 1.16 [S] R goes to see involved "oldbuddy" in lasarrange finder to project learnmoreaboutit.

1.9 [BE]Russian space instrument not available. (Alt#ldiscarded.) 1.17 [BE]R discovers 2 for prototypes rockscanning hadalready beenbuiltby 2 firmsidentified buddyas by one reputable: in U.S. (Alt#3a)[

1.8 R remembers Russian experiment on Mars98 using Lidar (Alt#1).

1.13 [BE]R askshimself: a maybewe canconvert laserrangefinder scanning for fromscanning rocksto for scanning dustdevils(Dec to adapt Alt#3).

1.14 [BE]R asksotherteam members see husband's to to data Evaluate Alt#3. 1.15 [C] R meetswithteam to experton Lidar determine costs andrisksof Lidar approach.

1.18 [BE]R remembers that AO says Canadian Space Agency(CSA)willingto to contribute mission. Has ideaCSAmishtbe interested. 1.19 [BE]R contacts Can.firm forinfo andto see if interested.

and inCanada one (Alt#3b).

1.20 [IA]R examines datafromAlt#3b firm'sprototype meetswithfirm and aboutAlt#3b. In-house ballpark costing indicates of if possibility cost overrun idea#3a developed (Alt#3adiscarded). 1.25 [IA]R examines Alt#3bfirm'sproposals for for prototype Alt #3b and determines too big/heavy it's forsize/mass instrument of (decto adapt Alt#3b).

1.21 [IA]Teamexpertconducts studiesof Alt#3bconanalytic meets"borderline" mass, cluding volume,andpowerrequirements.,

1.22 IS]Teammember examines AO to get namesto contact get to CSAnames.Contacts CSAandasks themto contribute Lidar Alt#3b. for

1.23 [BE] CSAagrees if advocacy comesfrom Canadian scientists.

1.24[S]R searches and internet contacts scientists Canadian

1.26 [IA]R works withteammembers to comeup withideasto makeAlt#3bsmaller with by integrating a camera fromU of A.

1.27 [IA] Teamexpert severalsubsequent has withAlt#3bfirmto determine if meetings to Alt#3bcanbe made. adaptations 1.28 [BE] U of A scientistssuggestAlt#4. Teamlooksat Alt#4butbecauseAlt#3b is "free," #4 considered Alt fallback.

1.29[F]Teamexpert& Alt#3bfirmworkto makeadaptations Alt#3b. to 1.30 IF]Teamexpertand Alt#3bfirmbuildseparate software modelsto improve of performance Lidar. 1.31 [F] Data exchanged by to e-mail/phone on final converge solution.

because all participants considered themselves innovators, had knowledge about the scientific market for their work as well as the current technologies that serve the market, and had histories of innovating (as evidenced by the patents they held). Thus, they had significant interest in innovating as well as the requisite experience in their field to know what was innovative and what was not. Project factors also appeared to influence the degree of innovation desired. There was only a limited amount of funding and risk that was acceptable. Innovators, together with other project members, decided which ideas (and AO problems) would be handled in a more-or-less innovative fashion. Finally, the organizational factor of JPL affected which problems to redefine: JPL was perceived in the science community as having a special expertise in space instruments (which was the focus of the redefinition for the three most-innovative cases), rather than in space materials (the focus in the two least-innovative cases). As a first step in the KRI process, then, radical reconceptualization was necessary to set the stage for innovation to occur, regardless of whether the solution would eventually be reused or new. The radical reconceptualization established a challenging vision-

a goal that excited, motivated, and directed the scientists' efforts to strive for an unknown future state. Simultaneously with their radical redefinitions, reusers in the more innovative cases developed conceptual approaches which were ambitious and not tied to the past; they used analogies and extensions to anchor the concepts. For example, the reuser in the most-innovative case used the analogy of an earthbased thunderstorm warning radar to describe an instrument to detect dust devils on Mars: Our focus was on developing an instrumentto study dust devils on Mars.But the problemwas how do you get a machine to tell when the dust devil has arrived and turn the machine on to take pictures and measurements. Well, I thought about radars at airports. Isn't this what radarsdo? But radarcan't be used here because it has a much longer wave length and needs harder things like airplanes.Lidar,however, could be used. Point it at the sky, swivel it around, and tell whether there is a dust devil. This is a novel use of Lidar. To use analogies and extensions required reusers in the more-innovative cases to not only be knowledgeable about traditional approaches, but also to be aware of, and open to, nontraditional approaches that

180
final into work implement to ES with create and to and meets (KSC reuser solution. community) adapter) final (as sources R

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for


Science50(2),pp. 174-188,@2004INFORMS Management

and final create adapter to telecons reuser between solution. Weekly array tipdiscussions in source. design with finalizes R

idea (F)

fully Develop adapter solution. together and adaptations R

#2b. data Alt adapter) and prototypes of of evaluates (IA) ideas adaptations. analysis examine generate and for and 2 experiments onadaptations ideas models, adapter of evaluate reuser models analyses adapter possible In-depth prototypes required. conducts prototypes. data,identify and and (as and 6 generates and studies and of R R R R to

lb). models, for adapter) generate examine and #1a, data, models (Alt and adapter prototypes adapter evaluate reuser #4c. ideas data and prototypes. and examines 2 (as and Alt and R R R to

of

for

to ideas relevance, source, 4

will

(BE) evaluate ideas Briefly

ideas relevance, 4 drawings, adaptability. adapt of adapter data, attesting ideas' and of to will and evaluates evaluates credibility, adapter adaptability. existence decides credibility, existence and and forsource,R himself. briefly attesting briefly ideas' R R

ideas relevance, ideasattesting attesting 3 prototypes, 5 prototypes, decides adaptability of of data R and source credibility, and evaluates credibility, evaluates himself. adaptability. and existence existence ideas' data, applications. adapt and for forsource, briefly to relevance, briefly ideas' R R

AO, and makes functions, Internet, (S) reusable Lidar; of geographies, for ideas alternative through Scan providers, contacts conditions searches colleagues. R

to not array experts using unrelated tip adapter about and electrometer visits) visits) space methods though electrostatic find experiment. methods textiles) of ideas to to ideas. of doing (semiconductor, with phone, phone, even seemingly catalog, outside handheld British a which variety Mars. variety anyone generate research (Internet, (Internet, Internet, with community. search adaptation ESD, industries findsconnects uses community uses find for searches to electrometers. R R R R R to use short to too own needs time AFM

and

to (DS)

Case Decide search Each expensive without acknowledges in R Taken

too invent to reuse.

current insufficient. expertise recognizes R

short too own time

invent invent manufacturer. to solution. to solution; decidesexternal decides R R

as to (not gauges, for to innovative) (AFM) suggest tips new evaluate create problem available, traditional feasible. traditional to meteorological traditional (most innovatively innovatively to science. measurement also as experimentneeding approach Summary approach suggestconcept rejects before. of change defines rejects but (radar) rejects new (pressureof insufficient. approach a useful design tips). design problem to expert design new quick tips new Brief as and and and and problem concept system. space characterize with (C) Lidar arm) AO previously), AO AO AO in AFM ELM AFM analogies just analogy 3 1. 4. challenge 3. 2. creating traditional (replacing autonomously generating considers phenomenon approach.uses checks reads used evaluate the doneconsiders approach uses conducts reads reads not warning reads asdevice. approach. redefines approach. redefines robot implicationsapproach. Case R No R Case R R R R Case R R R Case R R Reconceptualize Table problem R Actions of to

new early

not

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for Science @2004 INFORMS 50(2), 174-188, Management pp.

181
and on cases transfer

to on (KSC) discussions selection. fully concurrence source Develop close with material has yield R idea (F)

R. and to artifacts learned transfer lessons adapted Adapters

cases reusers Morediscussions discussion Discussions joint between focus development; innovative less-innovative adapters. ontechnology focus technology Same: Different:

models, from adapter) (IA) 5). analysis and ideasevaluate data,4 4, ideas on3, and of prototypes reuser #2, In-depth examines source (as and (Alt prototypes. R Generate for own ideasattesting 2 be adaptability. data source, must of and and credibility, evaluates ideas' decides existence R adapter. adapter, briefly to relevance, R

source generate and prototypes; data,with to and None. Examine adapters adapter prototypes models, specification experiments. interactions developing conducting manipulate orprototypes. adaptations, and requirements R Same: Different: for exchange jointly and

(BE) evaluate ideas Briefly

and and patches costs, source. journals mag adapt. with to using benefits, of scientific agrees risks from verifiesdiscussions R Source

data for based idea need supportive adaptability; multiple each and of examining credibility, identify role. of assessmentsMore-innovative evaluate without Assess existence detail; relevance, make in terms ondata adapter cases ideas. Same: Different: in of potentially variety scanning broader using more-innovative in identify nontraditional in of to idea(s). Rsconduct methods. Engage cases reusable communities, behavior searches cases search reuse Same: Different:

get have to ideas British unrelated who database, suits, materials. referenceand approach (S) journals reusable methods materials of KSC as generate for (space scientists ideas find seemingly to used of to electrostatic traditional Scan varietybeMars. scientific past. (catalogues,industries may semiconductor,names for in uses visits) searches about uses done textiles) R R R that

own to (DS) too invent time to Decide search short solution. decides R as

to perf to when invent and patches less-innovative out to not funds solution and not mag alternatives. own ideas None. exist seek experiment Decide exists. to morebecause own insufficient pursue invent insurmountable reusable and gap decidesalready R Same: Different: between

innovative. least to

in a AO innovative and past, in cases to magnetic about innovative) approach differences materials most doesn't proceeding tied on and generate approaches; problem approach before using (materials problem not ideas. from (leastof experiments and innovative Mars of innovatively constraints. selecting detailed materials dust knowledge more defines of listed asELM. approach search materials patches previously, similarities specific conceptual are in approaches; (Continued). and in experiment AO; approachnontraditional to approach a ambitious, definition traditional of Rsof problem new (C) ELM is AO AO. done mag Read postpones 3 5. 6. basing Cases embed conducting evaluate innovatively references). readsas ways patches. to representative work. reads by traditional aware which conceptual redefine consideration deciding develop to acceptsaccepts that ReconceptualizeTraditional Case R Table problem Consider Case R R R Summary Same: Different: Note.

182 might lead to greaterlevels of innovation. For example, in the second-most innovative case (electrometer (ELM)design), the reuser generally knew of devices that measure electrostatic properties on earth. This inspired him to believe that there may be a way to measure electrostatic properties on Mars and thus propose such a conceptualapproach.He extended the basic principles via an analogy to other measurement devices such as pressuregauges, and by using a robot arm as an analogy for the motion of an astronauton the surface of Mars. In sum, at this early reconceptualization stage, individuals needed to balance the apparent paradox of suggesting wildly ambitious conceptualizations, while having confidence that someone, somewhere, would have an idea that would help them operationalize their ideas.
Decision to Search Having reconceptualized the problem and approach,

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for


Science50(2),pp. 174-188,@2004INFORMS Management

(2) Conducting brief evaluations of ideas to determine if the idea was worth pursuing, and (3) Conducting an in-depth analysis of the idea. Scanning. Respondents in all six cases engaged in scanning behavior, during which ideas and individuals with potential relevance to the conceptual approach were identified. Reusers in the more innovative cases conducted much broader searches extending into nontraditional areas, resulting in ideas that came from sectors beyond their immediate space community, did not fit the immediate functional requirements, or did not have the expected or needed form. For example, in the second-most innovative case (ELM design), ELMs to measure the electrostatic properties of dust (the conceptual approach) did not exist at the outset of the timeline. Therefore, the reuser could not simply look for the right ELM. Instead, he

searched for information about how ELMs work in


general and how various industries use ELMs. One of the ideas he discovered from this search was that the

the respondents proceeded to the next stage: the decision to initiate a search for reusable knowledge. Unlike Szulanski's(2000)decision to transfer,this second stage involved individuals considering whether to invent their own solution-a clearly preferred strategy as inventors-or to examine others' ideas for possible reuse. For our respondents to even consider examining others' ideas required that they acknowledge that they did not have the personal expertise in the requiredarea and that their aim in searchingothers' ideas was not simply to supportpersonallearning (so they could invent), but to actually reuse another's ideas. We found that before engaging in a search for reusableknowledge, our respondentsneeded to experience an "insurmountableperformancegap," resulting from severe time and/or cost constraints. For example, in both the most- and least-innovativecases, inventing one's own solution was deemed too expensive. In the words of the scientist involved in the most innovative (Lidar)case: was Themajor developproblem the costcap.Full-up mentwouldhavebroken bank. the In the other cases, there was insufficient time to
invent a solution. Only with the insurmountable performance gap were the respondents willing to admit that they could not invent their own solution and that they would therefore consider reusing others' ideas. Search and Evaluate Stage Having decided to consider reusing others' ideas, respondents proceeded into a stage of active searching. In this third stage of the knowledge reuse process, we found that three layers of search and analysis were needed for reuse to occur: (1) Scanning the environment to become aware of possible ideas,

Britishtextile industry worries a great deal about the electrostaticproperties of chair covers; consequently, the industry routinelyuses ELMsto measure the electrostaticpropertiesof various materials.Thus, a space scientist developing an instrument for Mars reused ideas from the British textile industry! In the words
of this scientist: I worked by analogy.I looked around to see what others were doing in the field: ... semiconductorindustry, electrostaticdischargeindustry.[Thereare] a number of companies that deal with clean room garments;chaircovers [thatresult in] minimal staticbuild up. [Therewas] some help from the textile industry [for example, an individual]... from the Britishtextile

industry.
In addition to broad search criteria, reusers in the more-innovative cases used a wide variety of search the most-innovative case (Lidar design), strong and weak ties, formal "introductions" via the AO, telephone, e-mail, and the Internet were all used to find people and artifacts related to Lidar.

methods ranging from the Internetto face-to-facevisits, using both strong and weak ties. For example, in

Conducting Brief Evaluations. Having scanned the environment to become aware of others' ideas, the reuser proceeded to briefly evaluate each selected idea. Three criteria were applied to decide if an idea should be either discarded or continued into an indepth analysis: credibility (the idea is valid and replicable), relevance (there is some degree of match with problem needs in terms of form, such as shape and materials; fit, such as size and weight; and/or technical functionality), and adaptability(the extent to which the idea can be modified to fit the new problem within time and cost constraints). When evaluating

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for @2004 INFORMS Science 50(2), 174-188, pp. Management

183
ideas for reuse;rather,they only want to be informed that the metaknowledge exists and can be accessed at a later point in time. In the words of one reuser: The key [at this point in the evaluation was process] not theavailability theinstrument [knowing] of but the factthatthe instrument in development. was Conducting In-Depth Analysis. Finally,ideas that successfully met the three criteria for use (credibility, relevance, and adaptability) progressed into the final layer of search: in-depth analysis. The goal of this layer was to determine if any of the ideas being considered could in fact be adapted to meet the problem as formulated.In this final layer,reusers accessed and manipulatedthe metaknowledge to test it against the constraints and challenges of the problem. For example, a hand-held commercialELM for the ELM design case, a software model for the Lidar case, and laboratoryprototypes for the AFM design case were acquired and manipulated to provide the necessary confidence for the reuser to commit to the development approach. During this layer of activity, the reuser often needed to turn to the source and adapter for advice and artifacts. Summary of Three Layers. This pattern of three layers of evaluationsuggests that a reusableidea must successfully traverse "gates"to be eventually reused. It must first be found on the "scanningradar,"then it must meet criteriaexpected during a brief evaluation, and finally it must continue to show promise in a more in-depth analysis. Thus, for knowledge to be reused not one, but three evaluationsmust take place. Full Development In the final stage, the continued ideas were developed and incorporatedinto a final solution. This stage is characterizedby the full commitment of the team to the chosen implementationapproach.The work now shifts from "Is this feasible?" to "Make it happen." It is at this point that sharing common experiences between reusers and either the source or adapter becomes valuable. Shared experiences took the form of sessions in which prototypeswere tested, reviewed,
and improved. In the words of one reuser: We worked with the people at Kennedy Space Center to design the electrometerexperimentson various materials.While working with the data was important, it was equally if not more importantto have a lot of discussions and meetings. While shared experiences were important for all six cases, the focus of the shared experience varied depending on the degree of innovation: for the least-innovative case, the shared experience focused on transferring best practices, while for the moreinnovative cases, the shared experience focused on

for adaptability,we found that reusers assessed not just if the idea could be adapted, but more importantly for them, who(source,recipientor a thirdparty) would do the adaptation.During this layer of search, the reuser was often trading off the cost, capabilities, and interestsof a source or third party to do the adaptation against the cost, capabilities, and interests of the solo reuser. For example, in the AFM tip array case, one reusing scientist commented on the value of finding an adapter: Theyhad an operational systemof tip arrays...and a fabrication processto makethem[eventhoughit had not been used on Marsor for our purpose].This is a huge step forward. immediately We knew that we should team up with [the adapter] it would save as timeand energy. To assess the credibility,relevance, and adaptability of the ideas identified during the scanning step, we found that reusers looked for data, models, prototypes, and other contextual cues (such as whether the concept had been flown in space previously). We refer to these cues as the metaknowledge for the reused idea. Similar to metadata, meaning "data about the data," which is used to facilitate retrieval (Heery 1996), we define metaknowledge as "knowledge about the knowledge," which is used to facilitate evaluation and use (e.g., to assess relevance, credibility, or adaptability). While types of metaknowledge such as document author and date (e.g., Tiwana 2002) were of value to the reusers in the six cases, the types of metaknowledge that were more valuable were physical artifactssuch as data, models, and prototypes. Though metaknowledge was used to evaluate ideas, therewere too many ideas identified during the scanning step for metaknowledge to be closely examined for each idea. Therefore,during the brief evaluation phase, the reusers were primarily interested in determining if the metaknowledge even existed; from the existence of the metaknowledge they inferred that the idea would be judged positively. For example, when reusers learned that they could access the data or prototype for an idea, they inferred that the
idea was more credible than an idea without dataeven before they analyzed the data. When reusers learned that they could find someone (such as a manufacturer) able to adapt an idea, they judged the idea to be more adaptable than ideas without adapters--even before they spoke with the adapter. When reusers learned that contextual data describing the constraints and environmental conditions under which the original knowledge was generated existed, they inferred that the idea was more reliable. This finding suggests that reusers do not need or want access to metaknowledge when initially evaluating

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for 184


Science50(2),pp. 174-188,@2004INFORMS Management

codevelopment of the solution. Moreover, who was involved in these shared experiences varied across the cases. Sources were only included in these shared experiences in four of the cases; in the other cases, reusers shared experiences with adapters.

Discussion
In summary, Figure 2 presents a staged KRI process that was discernible across the six reuse cases. This process included six stages: (1) reconceptualize the problem and approach for innovation, (2) decide to search for reusable ideas, (3) scan for reusable ideas, (4) briefly evaluate reusable ideas, (5) conduct in-depth analysis on reusable ideas and select one, and (6) fully develop reused idea. Within each stage, reusers involved in the moreinnovative cases behaved differently from those involved in the less-innovative cases. Thus, even though the unique culture of JPL may seem to limit the generalizability of the findings, radical innovation is by its very nature unique (Leifer et al. 2000). Developing atom-sized computers or biotechnology innovations require equally unique cultures and individuals. As revelatory cases (Yin 1984), then, these six cases from JPL provide the opportunity to develop new theory about knowledge reuse for innovation that focuses attention on reuse for all radical innovation processes. Therefore, the utility of this research should be judged by the degree to which it fosters new insights and stimulates new questions and propositions for future research (Eisenhardt 1989). We use these questions and propositions to summarize key points as well as to extend our findings into new areas. 2 Figure for of Reuse Model Knowledge Process Innovation

A Process Model for KRI. Our findings first suggest a process model for KRI. This model is composed of six stages starting with Reconceptualizethe problem and ending with Develop the idea. That is, despite the nonlinear, chaotic nature of radical innovation, a sixstage model was identifiable. This suggests our first proposition: 1. PROPOSITION An individualwho proceeds through

in described Figure2 is more all six stagesin the manner to reuseothers'ideasin ways thatfoster innovation likely than individuals whoskipany stageor perform stage any in from how it is portrayed Figure2. differently

The uniqueness of the JPL context suggests that testing this proposition is worthy of future study. In addition, we examined only cases in which reuse actually happened, as opposed to cases in which innovation occurred without reuse, or failed to occur because of improper reuse. As such, we cannot conclude from our findings that these six stages are both necessary and sufficient for fostering reuse. Future research that makes such comparisons is needed. Three Levels of Search. One of the features of our staged process is the three levels of search: initial scan for possible reusable ideas, brief evaluation, and in-depth analysis. Clearly, such a three-tiered strategy benefits innovation by allowing innovators to be exposed to a diverse range of inputs quickly before they converge on a single idea, but it may be inefficient if a known point solution is desired, such as with KRR. This raises a proposition for future research: in 2. PROPOSITION Reuserswho are interested knowl-

havea greaterneed to proceed edge reusefor innovation and the threelayersof scanning,briefevaluation, through in interested replication. thanreusers analysis in-depth
Role of Adapters. Our research found that there are three criteria used to decide to reuse knowl-

Search Evaluate and Scan Briefly Evaluate Analyze In Depth Fully Develop

Reconceptualize for Problem Innovation Decideto Search


Experience insurmountable performance gap of Awareness traditional and nontraditional

that Awareness meta-knowledge exists Access to metaknowledge

Shared with experience adapter

Conduct broad, search nontraditional

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for


Science50(2),pp. 174-188,@2004INFORMS Management

185

sion about what metaknowledge to capture should be based on which metaknowledge would provide, by its mere presence, some evidence for the credibility, relevance, and adaptability of the idea. This is a notion worthy of future research and thus we propose:

edge for innovation:relevance,credibility,and adapt- stages in the knowledge reuse process generalizes to other sites and research studies, this could sugability. While the first two criteria have been found elsewhere (e.g., Szulanski2000),the criterionof adapt- gest how information overload might be avoided. ability has not been mentioned in the literature Reusers can be initially provided with a checklist of what metaknowledge exists on the idea, allowpreviously (although Rice and Rogers suggest, as ing access to the metaknowledge when the reuser early as 1980, that more research attention should be paid to the reinvention process). We found that returns to the idea for a more detailed analysis. This may also suggest that metaknowledge can be the absence of credible adapters, or the absence of ways to quickly determine if adapters are available constructed and presented in a way to facilitate or inhibit knowledge reuse. Borrowing from Culnan and credible, can create a barrier to reuse for innovation. This suggests, then, that if an idea is to be (1983), we call this structuring the "chauffeuring" reused for innovation, adapters need to be readily of knowledge through the reuse process, with metaidentifiable.Thus, instead of simply storing an idea in knowledge serving as chauffeur.Just as a technologytransferprofessionalis able to chauffeuran idea from a knowledge repository,names of agents (which may be manufacturers,institutions, or other researchers) initial awareness to implementation (Rogers 1983), or Toyota's knowledge-sharing network is able to willing and interested in adapting this idea should be stored as well, or included as part of a discussion chauffeur Toyota suppliers from awareness to adopforum on the idea. This notion needs further testing tion of best practices(Dyer and Noveoka 2000),propand thus we propose: erly constructed metaknowledge might be able to chauffeur an idea through the knowledge reuse proPROPOSITION An innovator 3. who considershow an cess and increase its chances of being reused. Metaideawill beadapted whowill do theadaptation more and is viewed in this way, becomes the "boundknowledge, likely to reuse ideas to facilitateinnovationthan reusers ary object" that links the source to the reuser (Star who ignoretheseissuesduringthe reuseprocess. and Griesemer 1989). To facilitate reuse, each idea Role of Metaknowledge. Our findings that meta- could be coupled with its metaknowledge, organized knowledge plays a differentrole at the differentstages around evaluation needs, and layered either for mere in the KRIprocess is anotherarea for future research. indication of presenceor for access and manipulation. We confirmedprevious researchthat metaknowledge Factors Affecting Reuse. We found many factors (describing context, credibility of source, etc.) about that affected KRI,including searching nontraditional a potentially reusable idea is important to reusers communities of practice, use of a variety of search (Markus2001). We also confirmed previous research methods, weak ties as well as strong ties, and shared that embodying this metaknowledge in physical artiexperiences with sources and/or adapters (but prifacts such as models, data, and prototypes instead of marily only at the end of the process, not at the begintext facilitatesunderstandingand reuse (e.g., Starand ning as found by Szulanski2000).Additional research Griesemer 1989). The additional insight provided by on these factors is needed to confirm that they are our researchis that metaknowledgeis accessed differ- specific to KRI. We also found that innovators were motivated ently at differentstages in the reuse process.We found that when reusers first became aware of an idea they to consider reusing others' knowledge only when wanted only to know that the metaknowledge on the (1) they confronted a problem that was insurmountidea existed. It was only laterwhen reusersconducted able with their current knowledge and resources, in-depth analyses of the idea that they accessed and (2) they reconceptualizedthe problem and approach manipulated this metaknowledge. This suggests that to requirean ambitious new perspective, and (3) they to facilitateknowledge reuse for innovation, the deci- believed that existing ideas were likely to be found
somewhere that would be useful. While the effects of the first two factors have been found previously (Gupta and Govindarajan 2000, Osterloh and Frey 2000), the third factor has important implications for building a theory of KRI. Why one innovator believes ideas exist that would be useful, while another believes the opposite, is not clear. It may be, as Allen (1977) observed, that those who believe there are existing ideas that would be helpful have been exposed, through experience and networking, to a wide range of inputs. Alternatively, as Leifer et al. (2001) recently observed, these individuals may have been exposed not just to a range of inputs but

4. PROPOSITION Ideas that are structured to indicate the presence (or absence) of metaknowledgewill be more readily consideredby reusers during the KRI process than ideas that are not so structured. If this finding that awareness of metaknowledge is more important than acquisition at early

186

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for


Science50(2),pp. 174-188,c 2004INFORMS Management

to a particular type of input, an "opportunity recognizer." These are individuals who recognize the business potential of an innovator's idea and who motivate the innovator to pursue his or her ideas, including sharing them with others. These individuals are differentfrom traditionaltechnology gatekeepers or brokers because they are focused on helping sources pursue their own interests. Innovators who make contact with an opportunity recognizermay, in the course of a discussion, learn enough about what various other sources may be doing or what various business opportunitiesmay exist to increasetheir belief that an idea useful for their approachis likely to exist. Our findings suggest that the notion of an opportunityrecognizercan be applied to the KRIprocess. In this role, the individual helps innovators recognize both that a conceptual approach has validity and that reusable ideas are likely to be found with a reasonable search strategy. This raises a proposition for future research:

Reconciling Our Findings with Previous Research. We argued at the outset of this paper that Szulanski's (2000) model was unlikely to provide a good fit with an innovation environmentbecause the model was more linear in flow, and more deterministhan is typtic about the knowledge being transferred, in radicalinnovation. Our findings ically experienced support this initial argument by identifying a model quite differentfrom that of Szulanski. There are, however, commonalities between our model and that of Szulanski: they both begin with the recognition of a gap, end with integration of the transferredknowledge into an organizationalroutine (or finalized solution), and include characteristicsof the recipient as important factors affecting the transfer process. Despite these similarities,there are many differences: Szulanski says little about the search and evaluation activities that were so critical to our reusers, and the role of source and recipient are different (in our study, recipient characteristicssuch as an openness to nontraditionalapproacheswere critito who 5. PROPOSITION Innovators areencouraged purcal early in our process, and shared experiences with sue innovationthroughreuseby opportunity recognizers the source were needed at the end, while Szulanski with- found the aremorelikelyto reuseothers'ideasthaninnovators opposite to be true). out thatencouragement. The differencesbetween our model and Szulanski's may be caused by Szulanski's assumption that metaRole of Project-LevelDecisions. Our findings sugknowledge and alternativereusable ideas were gathgest that the decision to reuse others' ideas to solve a ered prior to the decision to transfer, and didn't particularproblemneeds to be examined with respect model it. We offer an alternative explanation for to decisions made about other problems in the same the differences-and one we find more generative of project or organizational unit. In our sample, the amount of innovation desired by a reuser for a par- theory building. We suggest that KRI requires more attention to the search and evaluation stages because ticular case was constrainedin part by the amount of the idea that is transferredis not committed to until innovation incurred by the entire project. Too much risk in too many areas might damage the viability late in the process. It may be that, when integration of the project. For example, in the least-innovative and innovation are the drivers of the process, the reuse process focuses on how the problem is concase (mag patches), the reusers intentionallychose to ceptualized and what alternative reusable ideas can limit the innovativeness of the solution due to the be identified. As such, characteristicsof recipients degree of risk already present in other aspects of the are critical because the recipients define the level of project.This suggests that knowledge reuse research aspiration (March and Shapira 1987) that motivates should broaden its focus beyond characteristicsof them to find innovative ways of achieving the desired the specific best practices being transferred or the objective,even if it means not inventing it themselves. specific knowledge and participantsinvolved in the In contrast,KRRfocuses on the practicesbeing transtransferprocess. This broadeningof focus should take
into account the web of decisions being made by the individual, project colleagues, and project managers. Just as Argote and Ingram (2000) suggest that the transfer process needs to be understood within an embedded network of elements, our findings suggest including projectwide decisions into this network, especially for innovation. We phrase this implication as a proposition: 6. PROPOSITION A key determinant of reuse for innovation in any one case will be the degree of innovation incurred in other cases within the same project or organizational unit. ferred, and thus recipient traits may be less important early on. This suggests that the two models and the two streams of research on knowledge reuse (for innovation and for replication) can be reconciled by stringing them together into a single model. Our process model can be used to describe early stages of the reuse process and Szulanski's model can be used to describe later stages. That is, early in the reuse process when innovation may be desired the reusers devote efforts to problem definition and search activities. Later in the process when routinization of the selected idea is desired the best practices underlying this idea (if best

Science50(2),pp. 174-188,c 2004INFORMS Management

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for


187

practices exist) can be transferred by removing as many of Szulanski's barriers as possible. By stringing the two models together, we may be able to explain the difference in the impact of recipient and source characteristics between the two studies. It may be that the recipient's and source's characteristics are influential at several points in a complete reuse process: early in the innovation phase and later in the routinization phase for the recipient, and the inverse for the source. This suggests that future research should consider the entire lifecycle of the transfer process-from innovation to routinization-to understand the process by which transfer occurs.

Conclusion
In this study, we have offered several research questions and propositions to stimulate future research on KRI. We have suggested that reusers in a KRI process act differently from those in a KRR process. The unique context of JPL raises a challenge for future research to test the generalizability of these propositions. In the JPL context, the reusers redefined the problem to provide the greatest value to the customer (scientist and funder) relative to competitors. We propose that these same drivers exist in most industries; we would expect to see similar results in other contexts of radical innovation. We found that reusers in the JPL context balanced the paradox of identifying a nontraditional untested conceptual approach to the problem against the need for risk reduction by picking only those approaches in which they had some confidence that someone, somewhere, would have a relevant idea. We propose that risk reduction is a major factor in most radical innovations and thus would expect to see similar results in future studies. In the JPL context, we found reusers engaging in three levels of search and evaluation that require a broad search of nontraditional communities of practice and the ability to quickly scan metaknowledge. Creativity researchers (e.g., Amabile 1996) have long argued for the need to search in nontraditional communities; the use of metaknowledge to do this searching quickly deserves further study. Is the set of metaknowledge we identified a highly contextualized one? Finally, we found in the JPL context that reusers sought out adapters (who were not often the source) to bridge the gap between a source's original idea and the final solution. Whether this finding is generalizable is an interesting question. In the JPL context, the reuser and adapter were often not the same person because skills, funding, and experience for the two were quite different. In other fields and industries, the two roles may overlap. Is there some characteristic of a discipline that drives adapters' and reusers' roles?

In addition to generating research questions for future work in this area, our findings are also practical. First, due to the importance of being able to use metaknowledge of potentially reusable ideas, such metaknowledge that quickly communicates credibility, relevance, and adaptability needs to be captured and presented. Second, because reusers for innovation need to define problems broadly, be aware of both traditional and nontraditional approaches, conduct broad and nontraditional searches, and use a variety of search methods, our research suggests that organizations should consider providing training and incentives to their innovators in these areas. Finally, new roles such as adapters, chauffeurs, and opportunity recognizers need to become part of the community of practice encouraging knowledge reuse. In conclusion, this research is intended to ground knowledge transfer and reuse research in a relatively unexplored context: innovation. In this context, as Grant (1996) so aptly explains, the intention is not spillover, replication, or acquisition, but recombinative integration. Knowledge is clearly being reused, but how? This study is an effort to address this question and stimulate future research. Acknowledgments The research described in this paper was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory(JPL),CaliforniaInstitute of Technology,under contractwith the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.The authors thank the MECA and MITCHteams and the KnowledgeManagementProject team at the JPL.The authors also thank Rajiv Sabherwal, M. Lynne Markus, T. Ravichandran,and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. An earlierversion of this paper received the 2001 Academy of ManagementBest Paper Award for the OrganizationalCommunicationand InformationSystems Division. References
Alavi, M., D. E. Leidner. 2001. Review: Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research issues. MIS Quart. 25(1) 105-136.

the Allen, T.J. 1977.Managing Flowof Technology: Technology Transfer andtheDissemination Technological Within R&D the of Information
Organization. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Amabile, T. M. 1996. Creativity in Context. Westview, Boulder, CO. Appleyard, M. M. 1996. How does knowledge flow? Interfirm patterns in the semiconductor industry. Strategic Management J. 17 137-154. TransferringKnowledge.Kluwer, Norwell, MA. Argote, L., P. Ingram. 2000. Knowledge transfer: A basis for competitive advantage in firms. Organ. Behavior Human Decision Processes 82(1) 150-169. Armbrecht, F. M. R., R. B. Chapas, C. C. Chappelow, G. F Farris. 2001. Knowledge management in research and development.

Argote, L. 1999. Organizational Learning: Creating, Retaining,and

Res. Tech. 44(4) 28-48. Management

Becerra-Fernandez, I., R. Sabherwal. 2001. Organizational knowledge management: A contingency perspective. J. Management

18(1) 23-55. Inform. Systems

188
F. Blackler, 1995. Knowledge, knowledge work and organizations: An overview and interpretation. Organ.Stud.16(6) 1021-1046. Brown,J. S., P. Duguid. 1991.Organizational learningand communities of practice:Towarda unified view of working, learning, and innovation.Organ.Sci. 2 40-57. A. Cheng,Y.-T., H. Vande Ven. 1996.Learningthe innovationjourney: Orderout of chaos? Organ.Sci. 7(6) 593-614. Clark, H. 1996. Using Language.Cambridge University Press, New York. Clark, K. B., T. Fujimoto. 1991. ProductDevelopment Performance. HarvardBusinessSchool Press, Boston,MA. versus end user accessto commerCulnan,M. J. 1983.Chauffeured cial databases:The effects of task and individual differences. MIS Quart.7(1) 55-67. Davenport, T. H., S. L. Jarvenpaa,M. C. Beers. 1996. Improving Rev. knowledge work processes.SloanManagement 37(4)53-65. D. 1992. Interpretivebarriers to successful product Dougherty, innovationin large firms. Organ.Sci. 3 179-202. Dyer, J. H., K. Noveoka. 2000. Creating and managing a highperforming knowledge-sharing network: The Toyota case. J. Management 21 345-367. Strategic K. Eisenhardt, M. 1989.Buildingtheoriesfrom case study research. Rev. Acad.Management 14(4) 532-550. Grant,R. M. 1996.Prosperingin dynamicallycompetitiveenvironments: Organizationalcapabilities as knowledge integration. Organ.Sci. 7(4) 375-387. Gray,P. H. 2000.The effectsof knowledge managementsystems on Inform. emergentteams:Towardsa researchmodel. J. Strategic 9 Systems 175-191. 2000. Knowledge flows within multiGupta, A., V. Govindarajan. nationalcorporations.Strategic J. Management 21 473-496. Hansen, M. T. 1999.The search-transfer problem:The role of weak subunits.Admin. ties in sharingknowledge acrossorganization Sci. Quart.44 83-111. Hargadon,A., R. I. Sutton. 1997. Technologybrokeringand innovation in a product development firm. Admin. Sci. Quart. 42 716-749. 30(4)345-373. Heery,R. 1996.Review of metadataformats.Program C. W., K. D. Joshi. 2000. An investigation of factors Holsapple, that influencethe managementof knowledge in organizations. 9 J. Strategic Systems 235-261. Inform. G. A. 1970. Behaviour is an experiment.D. Bannister,ed. Kelly, AcademicPress, New in Construct Theory. Perspectives Personal York,255-269. Klein,H. K., M. D. Myers. 1999.A set of principlesfor conducting and evaluating interpretivefield studies in informationsystems. MIS Quart.23(1) 67-94. Kogut, B., U. Zander. 1992. Knowledge of the firm, combinative

Reuse Innovation Majchrzak,Cooper,and Neece: Knowledge for Science c2004 INFORMS 50(2), 174-188, Management pp. capabilities, and the replication of technology. Organ. Sci. 3 383-397. Leifer,R., C. M. McDermott,G. C. O'Connor,L. S. Peters, M. P. M. Innovation. Harvard Rice, R. W. Veryzer, Rice. 2000. Radical BusinessSchool Press, Boston,MA. Leonard,D., S. Sensiper.1998.The role of tacitknowledge in group Rev. innovation.California Management 40(3) 112-131. Z. Shapira.1987.Managerial March,J.G., perspectiveson risk and Sci. risk taking.Management 33(11)1404-1418. Markus,M. L. 2001. Towarda theory of knowledge reuse: Types of knowledge reuse situations and factors in reuse success. 18(1) 57-93. J. Management Systems Inform. Nonaka, I. 1994. A dynamic theory of organizationalknowledge creation.Organ.Sci. 5(1) 14-37. Osterloh,M., B. S. Frey.2000. Motivation,knowledge transfer,and forms. Organ.Sci. 11(5)538-550. organizational M. 1966.TheTacitDimension. Doubleday,New York. Polanyi, Rice, R. E., E. Rogers. 1980. Reinvention in the innovation process. Knowledge, Creation,Diffusion, Utilization1(4) 499-514. 3rd Rogers, E. 1983. Diffusionof Innovations, ed. The Free Press, New York. Schultze, U., R. J. Boland. 2000. Knowledge management technology and the reproductionof knowledge work practices. 9 J. Strategic Systems 193-212. Inform. Star, S. L., J. R. Griesemer.1989. Institutionalecology, "translations," and boundary objects:Amateurs and professionalsin Berkeley'smuseum of vertebratezoology, 1907-39. Soc. Stud. Sci. 19 387-420. Swan, J. 2001. Knowledge management in action: Integrating knowledge across communities. Proc. 34th Hawaii Internat. Conf.SystemSci. Oahu, HI. A Szulanski,G. 2000.Theprocessof knowledgetransfer: diachronic Behavior HumanDecision Processes analysisof stickiness.Organ. 82(1) 9-27. Teece,D. 1981.The marketfor know-how and the efficientinternaAcad.Political Soc.Sci. tional transferof technology.Ann.Amer. 458 81-96. in Thomke,S. 1998.Managingexperimentation the design of new Sci. products.Management 44(6) 743-762. Toolkit. PrenticeHall, Tiwana,A. 2002. TheKnowledge Management Upper Saddle River,NJ. Rev. Unsworth, K. 2001. Unpacking creativity.Acad.Management 26(2)289-297. Yin, R. 1984.CaseStudyResearch. Sage, BeverlyHills, CA. B. Kogut.1995.Knowledgeand the speed of the transfer Zander,U., An and imitationof organizational capabilities: empiricaltest. Organ.Sci. 6(1) 76-92.