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Communities of Creation: Managing Distributed Innovation in Turbulent Markets, California Management Review


A new model for managing distributed innovation, the community of creation is a governance mechanism for managing innovation that lies between the hierarchy- based (closed) mechanism and the market-based (open) mechanism for innovation management. The community-centric model shifts the locus of innovation beyond the boundaries of the firm, to a community of individuals and firms that collaborate to create joint intellectual property. A community of creation requires an identified sponsor, a set of ground rules for participation, and a system for managing intellectual property rights. The community of creation model allows innovation to proceed in a complex environment by striking a balance between order and chaos. This article presents detailed case studies from the computer industry to highlight the differences among the different approaches to innovation management. It also discusses the opportunities and the unresolved issues of the community of creation model for practitioners as well as for academics.




Mohanbir Sawhney, Emanuela Prandelli

Date Published



Sawhney, Mohanbir, and Emanuela Prandelli. 2001. Communities of Creation: Managing Distributed Innovation in Turbulent Markets. California Management Review.(4): 24-54.


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