Managing knowledge in smart networks

Marco Bettiol, Valentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria, Roberto Grandinetti

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Network technologies offer the opportunity to reshape connections among economic players by increasing the power of customers, makers and knowledge-intensive business firms in innovation processes and value-creation dynamics. Through a theoretical description of the convergence of manufacturing and service offerings, this paper discusses the various conceptions of smart networks and proposes an integrated definition with three key elements: an entrepreneurial strategy, the combination of different networks and orchestrators with a multifaceted absorptive capacity. Based on qualitative research involving two Italian firms, this paper investigates the structures of smart networks, their cognitive and organisational characteristics and the actors that lead them. The paper shows that these firms do not act as network orchestrators in a hub-based model. Rather, they allow the development of innovation activities and the production and combination of new knowledge through web-based technologies and distributed interactive processes among network nodes. Moreover, smart networks are not limited to firms but also involve consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-262
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Coproduction
  • KIBS
  • Knowledge-intensive business services
  • Managing knowledge
  • Open innovation
  • Orchestrator
  • Servitisation
  • Smart networks


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