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Edited by Mika Gabrielsson and V. H. Manek Kirpalani
Chapter 17: Battleship Strategy for Managing MNC–Born Global Innovation Networks
17 Battleship strategy for managing MNC– born global innovation networks Terhi J. Vapola INTRODUCTION This research explores the use of global innovation constellations1 between multinational corporations (MNCs) and globally oriented start-ups in high-tech industries. In particular, it uncovers a framework of key factors that are used in driving the added value from this particular type of alliance network. This framework is labeled the ‘battleship strategy’. The battleship strategy can be well illustrated by a metaphor. A battleship2 is large and powerful. It has strong firepower and powerful engines that propel it forward, but it takes time for its engines to get started or to change its course. Therefore, it uses small and agile fighter jets to scout its environment. The uniqueness of the battleship strategy lies in the suggestion that start-ups can serve as scout planes for MNCs. Since innovative activity is inherently uncertain, start-ups may test the waters and explore new technological or market opportunities outside the MNC’s normal operations, while the start-ups benefit from gaining access to global markets as a part of the MNC’s solutions. Despite its fundamental importance, global innovation constellations between MNCs and a large number of innovative start-ups in the hightech industries have received surprisingly little attention in international business research. There does not yet appear to be sufficient theoretical understanding of how the challenges of constant innovative change in dynamic industries, and the resulting pressures on the sustainability of competitive advantage in the global markets, can be addressed by using global innovation constellations....
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