Start-ups in Business Networks: Resource Development through Interaction
Licentiate thesis, 2017
This licentiate thesis deals with start-ups’ processes of relating to existing components in the business network in order to develop their innovations and become embedded in it. Previous research has shown that technology-based start-ups rely on external resources through collaborative business partners in order to create innovation. However, how this is done and what effects these collaborations have on the innovation and network itself is an area that needs further study. This licentiate thesis therefore aims to contribute to extending the knowledge of the interactive innovation process for technology-based start-ups by taking the starting point in the start-ups’ resources and how they are combined in the business network.
The theoretical starting point is taken in the Industrial Network Approach to industrial markets and, more specifically, the process of resource development through interaction in the business network by seeing the innovations as a result of a number of resource combinations taking place in it. The method used is a case study of three cases that illustrate three different innovation processes for technology-based start-ups to capture resource development in business networks over time.
This study shows that these start-ups are in great need of adapting their resource features to fit into the existing resource constellations in the developing, producing and using settings in order to innovate. It is also relevant to approach collaboration partners that are willing to adapt their own resource collections to allow the start-up’s resources to fit into their existing resource structures. Furthermore, the adaptations made in one resource interface impacts other connected resource interfaces, causing friction. Specifically, and as this study reveals, relating in business networks is a way of handling friction, which is a continuous interplay between triggers and changes in the resource interfaces. As a result, the important part lies in creating an understanding of how a specific change in one specific resource interface triggers a new change in a connected resource interface over time.
From a managerial point of view, the start-up needs to be aware of the importance of working with proximity of the three settings of developing, producing and using to allow it to embed its resources into the business network. Furthermore, it is relevant to find collaboration partners that are willing to make adaptations to their own resource collections. From a theoretical point of view, this study contributes additional knowledge to the study of resource development as a process by exhibiting the underlying mechanisms of why changes in resource interfaces take place and their consequences.