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Entrepreneurship through relationships – navigating from creativity to commercialisation



This paper explores the role of relationships in the emergence of a network's value creation structure. The strategic navigation from creative exploration to global exploitation through the use of so-called transformation networks is particularly highlighted. The creativity phase requires a creator with visionary leadership. The commercialisation phase, on the other hand, requires technology integration and global marketing excellence. Realising that this requires more than a bright inventor, the creator of Anoto brought in the right complementary assets at distinct phases of the commercialisation process. Our case illustrates how integrator and marketeer profiles were brought into a networked act of entrepreneurship for joint navigation across an ocean of relationships that gave birth to a global standard for digital writing. By combining theories on open innovation and networking, a theoretical framework is developed to analyse the different nature of the networks (or the value creation structure) in which complementary assets can be accessed, transferred and transformed into commercialised innovation. The analysis suggests that the value of complementary assets are embedded in and unlocked by three distinct types of networks: creativity networks, transformation networks and process networks. It also suggests that the ideal approach to accessing complementary assets shifts over the research and development management process, and happens through these three different types and levels of networks, requiring fundamentally different approaches to leadership and relationship management. Current literature describes open and networked innovation as a continuous – not dynamic – process of exploration and exploitation without any distinction of how types and structures of networks evolve and interact in the process.