Local Search or Beyond? The Influence of Interfirm Technological Distance on Co-innovation Success
Boundary-spanning search for new knowledge is believed essential to innovation, despite that the search is often technologically, geographically, and socially bounded. In the interfirm co-innovation process, given that boundary-spanning search leads to both a decreased learning effect and an increased creativity effect, its influence on co-innovation success remains a puzzle that needs further clarification. Using a sample of 18,575 U.S. utility patents co-invented by 6,595 dyads of firms during 1993–2002, I find that the net effect of interfirm technological distance on the quality of a patent invented by co-inventing firms depends largely on boundary-spanning conditions such as cross-regional and -network partnerships. The net effect is negative when co-inventing partners are within the same region and network, whereas the net effect becomes positive when partners come from distinct regions and networks. Additional robustness tests also confirm the findings.
Local search, Boundary-spanning, Technological distance, Cross-regional, Cross-network, Proximity, Co-innovation