Chat with us, powered by LiveChat In March of 2012, Boeing agreed to collaborate with Chinas Comac, which is actually something of a rival to Boeing in the commercial aerospace market (Toh, 2012) | WriteDen

In March of 2012, Boeing agreed to collaborate with Chinas Comac, which is actually something of a rival to Boeing in the commercial aerospace market (Toh, 2012)

Respond to at least two of your peers’ postings in one or more of the following ways:  "See attachment for details"

  • APA citing 
  • No plagiarism 
  • See Colleague attachments

Discussion: Outsourcing Innovation

In March of 2012, Boeing agreed to collaborate with China’s Comac, which is actually something of a rival to Boeing in the commercial aerospace market (Toh, 2012). They partnered in an effort to curb the aviation industry’s contribution to climate change. This is a classic example of a partnership formed to stimulate and manage innovation outside the boundaries of any given firm. This first partnership between Boeing and Comac aims to develop a single-aisle passenger aircraft. Boeing is partnering with a rival to challenge a market in which it already enjoys a significant advantage.

In your research, consider how organizations should exercise care when implementing alliances that produce innovation without harming the competitive standing of the alliance partners.

To prepare for this Discussion ,

Review this week’s Learning Resources, especially:


· Building strategic partnerships– Baloh, et al., article – See pdf

· Outsourcing a Core Competency – See pdf

· Structuring enduring strategic – See pdf

· Making Business Alliances work – See pdf


Post a cohesive and scholarly response based on your readings and research this week that addresses the following:

Respond to two colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

· Ask a probing question.

· Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings.

· Offer and support an opinion.

· Validate an idea with your own experience.

· Make a suggestion.

· Expand on your colleagues’ postings.

· No Plagiarism

· APA citing

1st Colleague – Natasha

Outsourcing Innovation Post

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Week 6 Discussion

Outsourcing, despite the risks involved, continues to be a fundamental business strategy that underlies many successful companies. As Baloh et al. (2008) argue, collaborative innovation is indispensable. Therefore, it is upon companies to integrate various mechanisms to avert the risks involved and harness the benefits that outsourcing brings to companies. One of the risks that needs a strategic approach to overcome is the protection of an organization’s core competencies from opportunistic partners who may use it to gain their own competitiveness. Human resources are at the center of the development of these strategic approaches, making them the key determinants of the success of outsourcing of innovation.

How HR can Manage the Outsourcing of Innovation

Baloh et al. (2008) provide three models of outsourcing innovation, including strategic alliances, acquisitions, and open source (OS) innovation. The effectiveness of each of these models is anchored on the needs of the organization that are pushing it to outsource. For instance, outsourcing innovation through acquisitions is efficient for an organization looking for specific expertise that its employees lack, and is an approach used for services or products with a mature track record and rich history (Baloh et al., 2008). The strategic alliances outsourcing innovation model is also used to obtain new knowledge and learning, particularly by competitively strong organizations (Baloh et al., 2008).  This model allows an organization to acquire critical knowledge while maintaining its core capabilities. However, the model requires the management of the partner relationship throughout the project. Lastly, the open source innovation model is mainly used for software development, where the OS developers make their products and services publicly open to adaptation or adoption, after using their own resources (Baloh et al., 2008).

Whereas each of the models has its share of benefits, there are also risks involved. Therefore, HR have the primary role of evaluating the needs of the organization that are prompting it to outsource. After that, HR analyze which of the outsourcing models is appropriate for the outsourcing situation, with a special focus on value creation and increased competitiveness. HR can then make recommendations based on findings. Simply put, HR can manage the outsourcing of innovation by conducting research and finding appropriate outsourcing partners. Segil (2008) claims that decisions concerning whether to partner and with whom, as well as the goals of the partnership, are critical to alliance success. HR are responsible for all these processes.

Methods HR can Use to Manage Outsourcing of Innovation as a Foundation of Understanding

Baloh et al. (2008) outline several models of outsourcing innovation. One method HR can use to manage the outsourcing of innovation is to analyze and evaluate the benefits and risks associated with each of these models. This will provide them with in-depth understanding of which model is appropriate for what outsourcing need, leading to alliance success. Conducting background research and negotiating with prospective strategic partners is another method HR can use to manage outsourcing of innovation as a foundation of understanding. Understanding the outsourcing needs of the organization and the appropriate model to use is one thing. Getting the right partner is another and is crucial to the success of the alliance. This is because it influences each of the partnership success factors, which are collaborative innovation, value creation, and partnership quality (Gibbs & Humphries, 2009).  

Role HR can Play in Maintaining the Competitive Advantage of the Organization

HR play a central role in the selection of a partner and the model of innovation outsourcing the organization chooses. From this perspective, HR influence the organization’s maintenance of a competitive advantage from the onset of the outsourcing process. HR can also maintain the competitive advantage of the organization through relationship management throughout the alliance. Gibbs & Humphries (2009) emphasize the importance of partnership quality, which involves commitment and trust as components of the quality of the alliance relationship. A good alliance relationship is likely to discourage opportunistic behavior by the strategic alliances that risk the competitive advantage of the organization. lastly, HR should push the organization to outsource innovations in non-core areas, while actively engaging in innovations in core areas internally (Baloh et al., 2008). Keeping core innovations internal while outsourcing non-core innovations increases competitiveness and protects the organization from opportunistic partners.

In conclusion, outsourcing of innovations requires strategy to help organizations increase their competitive advantage and avert the risks involved. HR are instrumental to the achievement of these tenets because they form a fundamental part of strategic management and the processes involved in effective innovation outsourcing fall within their domain.

Baloh, P., Jha, S., & Awazu, Y. (2008). Building strategic partnerships for managing innovation outsourcing. Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal.

Gibbs, R., & Humphries, A. (2009). Strategic alliances and marketing partnerships: Gaining competitive advantage through collaboration and partnering. London, NI: Kogan Page Limited.

Segil, L. D. (2008). Making business alliances work. Management Quarterly49(2), 30-35.

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2nd Colleague – Sandra Patterson

Outsourcing Innovation – Wk6 D1

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The process of selecting if to outsource HR functions includes an analysis of how outsourcing may benefit a business and includes an assessment of human resource preparedness to help the organization manage the outsourcing transition. It is essential to review the organization's present HR delivery and determine gaps within HR demands and available capabilities. In addition, management should examine the outsourcing company and its patterns to determine how market dynamics may affect their firms.


Consideration must be given to whether the HR operations of the firm should be subcontracted. Outside counsel can aid in inquiring through data analysis, financial projections, and suggested contract clauses (Ali et al., 2020). For instance, in the case of Boeing and Comac, they shared the purpose of developing an ecologically friendly airplane. Outsourcing the position appears to be the greatest way to lower the partnership's total human resources expenses.


Another crucial feature or consideration is reliability; it is vital to understand what reliability benefits the subcontracting vendor will give and whether the offered services will meet all of a firm’s legal requirements (Ali et al., 2020). The issue is prevalent in situations where state laws are stricter than a corresponding federal regulation. Moreover, management expectations are crucial factors to consider. If the services delivered is at a level above or below that of in-house management, confusion may ensue.


A complete understanding of the services to be delivered is required (Espino-Rodrguez & Ramrez-Fierro, 2018). In addition to knowledge, outsourcing providers frequently perform jobs that deviate from the organization's established operating measures. The client company should have thorough awareness of the subcontractors procedures and the function of the association within them.


U.S. firms such as Boeing are discriminating when outsourcing particular tasks, such as benefits administration, recruiting, and finance. Unlike depending entirely on a single provider, specific outsourcing is prevalent since it can be personalized to meet a company's exact needs (Espino-Rodrguez & Ramrez-Fierro, 2018). With the factors mentioned above in mind, outsourcing HR may help a business maintain its competitive edge.

Ali, S., Huang, J., Khan, S., & Li, H. (2020). A framework for modelling structural association amongst barriers to software outsourcing partnership formation: An interpretive structural modelling approach. Journal Of Software: Evolution And Process32(6).


Espino-Rodríguez, T., & Ramírez-Fierro, J. (2018). Outsourcing Performance in Hotels: Evaluating Partnership Quality. Sustainability10(8), 2766.

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Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal Vol. 1 No. 2, 2008 pp. 100-121 # Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1753-8297 DOI 10.1108/17538290810897138

Building strategic partnerships for managing innovation

outsourcing Peter Baloh

Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Sanjeev Jha University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA, and

Yukika Awazu Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to uncover the mechanisms of organizations managing innovation outsourcing to business partners. In a business environment characterized by the development of deep, niche expertise in a particular domain, business partnerships can provide a source of innovative rejuvenation by outsourcing the innovation to business partners who have complementary skills and expertise. This paper addresses a critical challenge which the organizations are currently facing: how do you manage outsourcing of innovation to business partners effectively while maintaining your strategic competitiveness? Design/methodology/approach – Exploratory multiple case studies of over 30 innovative European and US companies were done. It involved 50 semi-structured interviews with senior executives from research and development, product management, information technology, and marketing. Findings – The paper identifies three complementary models of managing outsourcing of innovation to business partner: acquisition, strategic alliances, and open source (OS). Based on these, a three-dimensional ‘‘Co-Innovation Space’’ is proposed that can help in analysis and planning of current and future innovation projects. Research limitations/implications – Although the research is carefully designed, it is an exploratory study and has the limitation of generalizability of the findings. Nevertheless, findings from multiple case studies from diverse organizations shed a light to current innovation and strategic alliance literature. Practical implications – Partnerships can open the door to multiple knowledge sources. Accessing and integrating information from these sources can greatly enhance knowledge base of organizations and can help fuel sustainable innovation. The models proposed in this study provide a lens to examine existing innovation project portfolios and/or to plan for future innovation programmes. Originality/value – This study is probably among few to study such a large, diversified, and geographically scattered group of organizations. Although exploratory and preliminary, this makes the findings of the study insightful.

Keywords Innovation, Strategic alliances, Acquisitions and mergers, Partnership, Outsourcing

Paper type Conceptual paper

Introduction Worldwide, executives agree that collaborative innovation is indispensable. When asked about the most important sources of ideas and innovation, CEOs ranked employees first (41 per cent of CEOs agree that they are the number one source), closely followed by external sources such as business partners and customers (39 and 36 per cent, respectively (IBM, 2006)). Internal research and development (R&D) departments, in contrast, ranked only eighth in importance (IBM, 2006). The nature of innovation has undergone fundamental changes in recent times (Chesbrough, 2003).

The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at

Building strategic



Today, it is not sufficient for an organization to simply rely on its internal knowledge base for ideas (Carayannis, 1999; Chesbrough, 2003; Desouza et al., 2005; Dodgson, 1991; Hitt et al., 2000). Organizations have realized that they must partner with external entities to source ideas, know-how, and capabilities.

Organizations have become highly specialized in niche areas, often focusing their capabilities on specific expertise, services, or products. Organizations must hone in on their core capabilities and engage with business partners to supplement, expand, and apply knowledge. In this way, they can balance their deep expertise with partner’s expertise in order to innovate efficiently and effectively; and this is what good companies should do (Sull, 1999). While developing existing technology and serving existing customers results in incremental innovations, exploration into new knowledge or departure from existing skills leads to radical innovation serving emergent customers or markets (March, 1991; Benner and Tushman, 2003; Herrmann et al., 2006). Complementary assets help an organization extend the reach, scope, and impact of their products and services to reach market faster with better and new products. This realization has fuelled the recent surge of interest in outsourcing, both on- and off- shore. Organizations engage in partnerships to reduce the costs of internal knowledge creation. Moreover, when the need for knowledge in allied or foreign domains arises, many organizations lack the capability or capacity to grow the knowledge in-house – they need to negotiate for the ideas and know-how from external sources. Quinn (2000) cites the example of large pharmaceutical companies outsourcing elements in their innovation chain while specializing in their core activities. Breaking core competencies into three broad areas of basic research, development, testing and production, and distribution, the author argues that companies specialize in each of these three areas while collaborating with other. Companies specializing in R&D build partnership with firms having core competencies specializing in the other two elements in the innovation chain: production (testing and production) and marketing, distribution, and logistics (distribution).

Miozzo and Grimshaw (2005) argue that vertical disintegration and modularity of innovation chain is one of the most significant phenomenons of modern organizations. Organizations can generate faster and better products by breaking them into smaller subsystems that can be built separately but to function together. However, to achieve this, organizations need to have a sound strategy to manage the outsourcing of their subsystems. We have examples of a number of organizations practicing outsourcing of subsystems requiring their suppliers of components and services to conduct their own innovations, while they focus on innovations in their core competency. Boeing actively solicited business partners in the innovation process for its new 787 Jetliner (Kotha and Nolan, 2005). Boeing created a team of 15 companies worldwide for production of the structural sections of the plane. For example, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan) is responsible for the wing box. Vogut and Alexia (Italy) are building the horizontal stabilizer and the centre and aft fuselage. Product suppliers are not the only business partners, either. Services can be outsourced, too. Most organizations today outsource some aspect of their human resource functions (e.g. executive recruitment). In doing so, they rely on the expertise of their providers to bring them the best-of-breed in both product and service offerings.

The shift in the mindset towards outsourcing of innovation is driven by increased competitive pressures. Globalization makes the need for innovating with business partners more critical. In this age of rapid innovation, organizations cannot stay at a static level of skills and competencies. Organizations need to ceaselessly create

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knowledge, innovate processes, and products, and learn from their predecessors’’ mistakes and services. Organizational improvisation (Cunha et al., 1999) is the mantra to break out of this loop of the birth and death of organizations. The loop has always been there, but globalization shortens the process. Organizations need to improvise, experiment, and employ all their resources, especially their employees, business partners, and customers, in a continual quest for organizational improvisation. This demand and complexity helps to explain why opening an innovation process by outsourcing external parties may be a challenging undertaking.

Further, innovating in isolation can be risky and costly. Out of ten R&D projects, five flop, three are abandoned, and two go on to become successful (Rizova, 2006). A large number of innovative ideas fail due to the lack of market orientation, such as with misengineered products that do not fit customer needs. Consider the example of high- definition television, a technology marvel that promised high picture quality. Philips, Sony, and Thompson have invested millions and millions of dollars to produce consoles since the early 1990s, but they were not in-sync with their business partners; the product languished because the studio production equipment, signal compression technologies, and broadcasting standards were not ready (Rizova, 2006). To maximize profit potential, a company needs to identify its innovation fulcrum, the point at which an additional offering destroys more value than it creates (Gottfredson and Aspinall, 2005).

If done properly, outsourcing to business partners can help organizations to achieve sustained innovation and continuous competitive differentiation. Toyota is an excellent example. Despite the amount of research conducted on the Toyota Production System and the fact that Toyota even provides tours of its operations to other companies’ representatives, competitors have not been able to achieve the same level of productivity as Toyota (Hagel and Brown, 2005). One important reason is that knowledge resides and is owned at the network level. Participating suppliers benefit from knowledge sharing as they themselves gain from others’ knowledge (Dyer and Nobeoka, 2000).

In this paper, we describe three mechanisms by which organizations engage with their business partners for outsourcing of innovation. These three modes of collaboration are differentiated by the nature of relationships among partners, reasons (goals) behind the decision for particular relationships, and by the scope of innovation. In each business partnership, it is critical to identify what type of innovation is most likely to result in successful outcomes. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Henderson and Clark (1990) classified innovations in two dimensions: one dimension captures an innovation’s impact on components and the other on the linkages between components. Through this classification, they identified multiple types of innovation: incremental, modular, architectural, and radical innovation. Architectural innovation illustrates how some business partnerships can lead to desired innovation effort outcome. Henderson and Clark posit that architectural innovation is triggered by a change in a component, which will create new interactions and new linkages in the established product. Business partnerships often create this catalytic effect by combining or incorporating complementary and necessary components in each participant’s product and services. This type of innovation is very complex and risky, and most often requires a variety of knowledge and expertise that are not located internally in the firm. It can also be highly disruptive to organizations (Gatignon et al., 2003). This paper focuses on such complex and disruptive innovation. We discuss under what conditions each mechanism of outsourcing is beneficial, and the risks and

Building strategic



issues related with each mode of collaboration. We also explore the critical issues related to actually introducing new forms of collaboration in organizations. Understanding these issues can help organizations better manage the demanding and multifaceted task of fusing business partners into already complex innovation processes. Finally, we introduce a three-dimensional ‘‘Co-Innovation Space’’, which is akin to various matrices (such as Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Arthur D Little (ADL), GE/McKinsey, etc.), known from the strategic management. Companies can use it to analyze existing innovation portfolios and/or to plan future approaches to innovation outsourcing.

The findings presented here are based on exploratory multiple case studies of over 30 innovative European and US companies. This research design was chosen as it suits problems where the context of action is critical (Benbasat et al., 1987), as it enabled us to gain a rich understanding of the context of the research (Saunders et al., 2003), and as it made possible describing in greater detail the relationships that exist in reality in local contexts (Galliers, 1992). Data collection involved 50 semi-structured interviews with senior representatives from R&D, product management, information technology, and marketing. The interview data were complemented by desk research, analysis of corporate reports, and validated in follow-up sessions with key informants.

Building strategic partnerships for innovation outsourcing During our exploratory study, three different forms of business partner collaboration for innovation outsourcing emerged. In this section, they are defined and managerial issues are discussed. The first collaborative mode is innovation through acquisition, where ideas and innovations are acquired from another independent organization in exchange for (usually monetary) compensation (Karim and Mitchell, 2004; Lichtenthaler, 2005). The next type of collaboration is strategic alliances, where numerous business partners engage in a highly dynamic interplay of tapping into external sources of knowledge, assimilating new knowledge, and transforming and exploiting the knowledge (Doz and Hamel, 1997; Hipkin and Naude, 2006). Finally, the OS innovation model, which is where problems and ideas are exchanged via the network to enable more rapid innovation and access to a wide array of sources of expertise (Grand et al., 2004).

Outsourcing of innovation through external knowledge acquisition Consider IBM, which realized US $1,700 million (20 per cent of their total net income) in 2000 via external commercialization of their expertise. This took the form of consulting and services related to many of their 25,000 patents (IBM, 2005; Kline, 2003; Lichtenthaler, 2005). The number of transactions involving the trading of knowledge assets has increased significantly from US$ 15,000 million per year at the beginning of the 1990s to around US$ 100,000 million a year in 2002 (Kline, 2003). If the supply side is thriving, demand must be high. Many organizations engage in outsourcing of innovation by purchasing knowledge from external entities.

Outsourcing of innovation through external acquisition has several benefits. First, an organization can choose to purchase the best-of-breed and incur neither the cost nor the risk of in-house innovation. Furthermore, in an era of specialized business, many organizations focus upon specific areas of expertise, and their employees may not have the diversity and breadth of knowledge to develop technological or product innovations outside the business’s dominant field or business model.

Second, the purchasing organization can act in an agile manner and acquire knowledge that arises out of emergent needs. When a need is recognized, a company

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can search for and buy the knowledge that will answer that need immediately. That might take the form of new technology, manufacturing procedures, or a product component. In these instances, an organization sidesteps the costly and sometimes lengthy R&D cycle and is able to seize solutions found to match core competencies and supplement organizational strengths. As the competitive environment is highly dynamic, being able to satisfy emergent needs is critical.

Third, sometimes intellectual property safeguards particular pieces of knowledge. In these instances, an organization may work with a business partner who has the rights to a particular patent in order to use a specific product component or piece of technology. The patent holder may retain the right to commercialize its knowledge with other organizations; at other times, the patent itself will be for sale and can be acquired entirely. Sometimes, a business partnership develops out of necessity to access or utilize information held explicitly and legally by a partner. Consider the example of Zebra Technologies. This leading manufacturer of industrial printing solutions (such as bar code and radio-frequency identification (RFID) smart labelling) has acquired an extensive portfolio of RFID-related patents in 2006. With a US$ 10 million acquisition of over 200 patents from UK-based medical company BTG plc, Zebra now holds a vast collection of patents that secure their premium position in the lucrative and promising area of products based around RFID technology. These patents are integrated in their products, which are used by 90 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Zebra’s knowledge and expertise also is a viable consulting industry with companies’ partners who try to stay in the supply chain. As an example, in April 2006, Zebra held a conference for over 300 suppliers of Wal-Mart, who were facing the giant retailer’s RFID compliance mandate.

The case of the ‘‘Little Swan’’ company (Pech et al., 2005) demonstrates that innovation can be successfully integrated into a firm after direct acquisition. Acquisition of foreign technology propelled the company from being a pottery and domestic appliances producer with no history of technological development to a company with an 18 per cent yearly expansion rate in the highly competitive and low- profit-rate world market of white-ware manufacturing. Little Swan had the reputation of being a ‘‘me-too’’ copycat rather than an innovator. In 1989, Little Swan was in 24th place in washing machine sales in China and made a commitment to internal R&D around that market. The transfer of critical technology and hiring of engineers from the Japanese manufacturer Matsushita in 1987 acted as a catalyst, enabling Little Swan to design proprietary technology of its own. The purchased expertise was paired with incremental innovations from in-house R&D, which resulted in over 150 patents by the year 2002, both in innovative products and in innovative manufacturing procedures. Huge incentive programmes have been employed, and the company continuously expands its knowledge base with experts from all over the world who can fruitfully engage in new knowledge creation around diverse knowledge bases (Pech et al., 2005).

The case of South Korean electronics giant Samsung provides another an analogous example. In the late 1990s, Samsung was associated with cheap TVs and microwaves that flooded foreign markets. During the Asian economic crisis, Samsung undertook an innovation transformation, starting first with improving acquired patents. While those purchases improved products dramatically, they did not merely release as new products. Instead, the acquisitions were paired with radical strategy shifts in managerial training, strong leadership, and a huge R&D emphasis under the watchword of quality. Today, Samsung is the third-ranked mobile phone producer in the world; it was rated the ‘‘Mercedes’’ of cell phones (Manecksha, 2004) and has been

Building strategic



called ‘‘a killer innovator’’ (Ihlwan, 2006). For example, Samsung was the first to introduce an MP3 player to the global market (two years before the iPod) and to integrate MP3 players into mobile phones. It is the number two chip-maker in the world after Intel and the top maker of LCD driver chips, with around 20 per cent of the market; among its customers are Sony, Nokia, and Motorola.

The examples of Samsung and Little Swan emphasize that outsourcing of innovation through acquisitions alone do not lead to sustainable innovation. In each of these instances, key patents were acquired and then merged with new, high-quality employees and a cultural shift towards valuing quality and innovation. The combination of new knowledge and a cultural shift enabled both companies to develop innovative products; the patents alone probably would not have had such a significant, long-term impact. The process of integrating external knowledge opened the organization up to new knowledge while simultaneously providing initial successes in product development that further fuelled the process of change. This virtuous cycle allowed Samsung and Little Swan to continually ramp up their innovation programmes after each successful release of a product.

Critical considerations. Not al


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