Online communities are becoming an important way to support firms towards an open innovation approach. However, knowledge shared in an online community represents only a potential for firm’s innovation aims. The effectiveness of exploration and exploitation of this knowledge depends on firm’s absorptive capacity. In this work the authors focus on the time an idea, shared within an online community, takes to be transformed from a ‘potential’ into a ‘realized’ innovation by a firm. In particular, conceiving knowledge as a trajectory across pole of attraction rather than a linear process, the authors develop a model inspired by the solar system metaphor. Preliminary results from a case study are presented. They suggest firms may improve the effectiveness of absorptive capacity exploiting the mediation role of a software tool.
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