Smart networks for innovation and production: the role of designers, makers and customers

Marco Bettiol, Valentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria, Roberto Grandinetti, G Schiuma (Editor), JC Spender (Editor)

Research output: Conference paperContributionpeer-review


Purpose - New emerging technologies such as 3D printers are reshaping the manufacturing landscape, by enlarging the opportunities for a larger number of individuals and small firms to directly translate innovative ideas into real products. However, despite this promising technological scenario, it remains an open question how the knowledge management processes underneath product innovation and production can be structured and managed among actors (organizations, individuals), also geographically dispersed. The paper investigates how "smart networks" are structured and which are the actors that lead new "smart" networks and the knowledge management processes.Design/methodology/approach - We propose a qualitative approach in order to answer to the exploratory research questions proposed in the paper. The case studies analyzed are at the interplay between manufacturing and services: firms selected, all located in Italy, are KIBS that engaged in manufacturing activities or manufacturing firms that moved toward the provision of services.Originality/value - The originality the paper lies in the analysis of the new emerging forms of value chain configurations - that we defined "smart" networks - related to the new economic and technological scenario (the new/third industrial revolution). Specifically the paper describes the cognitive and organizational characteristics of those "smart" networks, the kind of actors involved and their role in the process of value creation. Those issues are still underdeveloped both theoretically and empirically. The value of the paper is also related to the empirical analysis we intended to carry out, since no studies have explored those phenomena in countries such as Italy where design and manufacturing competencies are both crucial for the competitiveness of firms.Practical implications - Practical implications will be included in the paper and will refer to the strategic options the firm can adopt in order to create and manage "smart" networks or become part of them. In addition, the paper will also evaluate the economic implications of managing product innovation, development and manufacturing based on network technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event8th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics (IFKAD) - Zagreb, Croatia
Duration: 12 Jun 201314 Jun 2013


Conference8th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics (IFKAD)


  • Knowledge management
  • Network technologies
  • Open innovation
  • Value networks


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