Learning to Swim in the Pool Before Surfing in the Sea: A Study of Local Innovation Experimentation

Jin Han, Sandor Löwik , Haibo Zhou, Petra de Weerd-Nederhof, Yanmin Wang

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Successful development of complex innovations require firms and key partners to perform a series of experimentation activities at local small-scale society at first, which we define such strategic process as Local Innovation Experimentation (LIE). Doing so helps managers grasp a complete map of technical and non-technical dimensions about the proposed innovation, around which build viable innovation ecosystems to gain advantages. To know what could affect the extent to which managers have high level of LIE performance, we adopt the managerial dynamic capabilities framework. Using a sample of 111 Chinese innovative firms, we find significant relationships among managers’ capability portfolio, local innovation support, and LIE. PLS-SEM results indicate that managers with greater metacognitive capability, networking capability, learning agility have better LIE performance. Besides, (1) frequent attending local networking events and networking capability, (2) frequent use of innovation facilities and learning agility, interact in their positive effects on, and therefore result in, better LIE performance. Based on these findings, our core theoretical contribution lies in that a capability portfolio perspective at the lower (firm) level contributes to a better understanding of innovation ecosystem birth at higher (ecosystem) level.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Event81st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management - Virtual
Duration: 30 Jul 20213 Aug 2021
Conference number: 81


Conference81st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2021
Abbreviated titleAOM 2021
Internet address


  • local innovation experimentation; metacognitive capability; networking capability; learning agility; local innovation support


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