A taxonomy of competition-based approaches as innovation policy measures to foster external knowledge search

Paolo Landoni, Simone Franzò, Davide Viglialoro, Alessandro Laspia, Roberto Verganti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: This paper aims to provide a comprehensive view of the different competition-based approaches that policymakers can exploit to foster external knowledge search and their positioning among innovation policy measures. A growing number of companies have implemented initiatives to access external knowledge to increase their innovativeness, consistently with the open innovation paradigm. Competition-based approaches have received increasing attention by the private sector as a way to access external knowledge. However, despite their potential role as innovation policy measures, a limited attention has been devoted so far to investigate them from the policymakers’ perspective.

Design/methodology/approach: To this aim, a two-stage empirical analysis has been carried out to develop a taxonomy of competition-based approaches. The first stage leveraged a multiple case study methodology including a sample of 20 competition-based approaches, while the second one leveraged interviews with Italian and European key informants.

Findings: This paper proposes a novel taxonomy including eight competition-based approaches, which differ among each other in terms of policy strategy, scope breadth and output required. Moreover, this paper enriches a well-established taxonomy of innovation policy instruments with the identified competition-based approaches.

Originality/value: This study contributes to the current debate on innovation policy by providing a taxonomy that includes eight competition-based approaches that can be exploited by policymakers to foster external knowledge search as well as their positioning among the innovation policy instruments. The taxonomy will hopefully support policymakers in identifying of the most suitable instruments in the light of their policy strategy and objectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-156
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023


  • Competition-based approach
  • External knowledge search
  • Open Innovation
  • Innovation Policy
  • Policy-Makers

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