Knowledge Management and Innovation in Networks

Knowledge Management and Innovation in Networks

Edited by Ard-Pieter de Man

As an ever-increasing amount of innovation takes place within networks, companies are collaborating in developing and marketing new products, services and practices. This in turn requires knowledge to flow across company boundaries. This book demonstrates how companies encourage this knowledge to flow in networks that can involve dozens of partners. Substantiated by five in-depth case studies of innovative networks, the authors identify and analyse the solutions implemented by companies in order to meet the key knowledge management challenges they encounter. Theoretical and management implications of the study are then defined.

Chapter 5: The Future Store Initiative: Shopping for Knowledge/Knowledge for Shopping

Ard-Pieter de Man and Tim Graczewski

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, knowledge management, organisational innovation


1 Ard-Pieter de Man and Tim Graczewski Building the retail store of the future with widely different partners requires much attention to the governance of knowledge and innovation processes. The German supermarket chain METRO did so effectively. This case highlights the importance of informal solution concepts, in combination with a clear vision, a strong lead partner and a tight deadline in bringing about the desired result. This recipe worked for the 50 companies that needed to come together to create an entirely new shopping experience. INTRODUCTION ‘The Future Store Initiative is our R&D lab’, says Gerd Wolfram, METRO Group’s managing director of Information Technology and leader of the Initiative. ‘By creating a real-life future store METRO Group and partners are able to test and develop new technologies that form the basis of innovation in retailing.’ This, in essence, describes METRO Group’s Future Store Initiative, a working supermarket in which a number of new concepts and technologies for the retail industry are developed and tested in practice. Initiated by the German-based METRO Group, the world’s third largest retailer, the Future Store Initiative brings together 58 companies2 that jointly aim to drive innovation in the retail sector and to set technology standards for the industry. Among the new technologies developed in the store are customer-friendly technologies enabling automated check-out and vegetable weighing scales that recognize the products that are put on them to be weighed. One of the core technologies implemented is RFID,3 for which METRO Group wanted...

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