ESTT member M. Wiener contributed to the Continuous Innovation Network (CINet) Conference 2020 (online) with the paper “Cross-industry collaborations: The role of intermediaries in the team development process”. The abstract is as follows:
Collaborations with organizations from other industries are advantageous as “industry-blindness” and “bounded rationality” can be overcome and ideas for breakthrough innovations can be fostered. However, these very different partners also pose various challenges. Findings in the areas of innovation have shown that intermediaries can contribute significantly to the success of collaborations. The aim of this research is to investigate what contributions intermediaries can provide in the different phases of the development of cross-industry teams. The results showed that in cross-industry teams the following activities are of particular relevance: The analysis of the forming phase showed that one important aspect is to develop an inspiring learning climate and enthusiasm for cross-industry exchange. We found that this was particularly relevant in cross-industry settings, as there are also concerns whether such different participants can really benefit from each other and how open the exchange will be. In addition, the action research studies show that conflicts and questions of power and status (storming) can be minimized if the intermediaries make sure that all participants – despite their different industry backgrounds – generate similar benefits and that no power imbalances arose. In the norming phase it was important for the intermediaries to encourage and support cross-industry discussions and at the same time professionally moderate and inspire them. Moreover, we found (performing) that all participants identified heterogeneity as a particular advantage. However, this was also a challenge for the intermediaries, because everyone wanted to develop useful insights for themselves. Finally, a presentation of the results in an extended cross-industry team can additionally increase the benefit of the teamwork (adjourning).