Interdependencies in Complex Project Ecologies: The Case of Biomedical Innovation
This article examines the challenges associated with managing projects that are distributed across time, space and organizations e a common, though under-researched, feature of innovation in numerous high-technology domains, including biomedicine. This ‘complex project ecology’ is examined to explore the ways in which managing the interdependencies across projects then becomes crucial. Given the challenges of integrating and transforming knowledge across diverse groups, the deployment of a more ‘reciprocal’ approach to managing interdependencies between projects, i.e. a high level of project interactivity, might seem most appropriate. However, our analyses of nine biomedical innovation cases (of which three are detailed) reveal, instead, a heavy reliance on ‘blackbox’ strategies, transferring knowledge between projects with very limited collaboration amongst the various projects involved. This low level of project interactivity is shown to create problems for the innovation process. The reasons for this are examined, and particular attention is drawn to the effects of power dynamics and the sector’s dominant knowledge regime.
Citation : Newell, S., Goussevskaia, A., Swan, J., Bresnan, M. and Obembe, A. (2008) Interdependencies in Complex Project Ecologies: The Case of Biomedical Innovation. Long Range Planning, 41 (1): pp. 33-54
Peer Reviewed : Yes