Bridging analog and digital expertise: Cross-domain collaboration and boundary-spanning tools in the creation of digital innovation

Raissa Pershina, Birthe Soppe, Taran Mari Thune
2019 Research Policy  
A B S T R A C T Expertise in digital technologies is necessary, but rarely sufficient to generate digital innovation. The purpose of this paper is to explore how specialists rooted in digital and analog knowledge domains engage in cross-domain collaboration to jointly create digital innovation. Our analysis cross-examines the literature on knowledge integration and coordination by examining the role of boundary-spanning tools in fusing divergent types of knowledge. The empirical setting for our
more » ... study is the development of digital serious games, a novel breed of digital learning products whose creation involves a wide range of gaming/digital and learning/analog expertise. Drawing on an in-depth qualitative study, we find that boundary-spanning tools such as prototypes, mockups, and whiteboards serve as important knowledge bridges buttressing the overall innovation process, enabling diverse experts to increasingly align and integrate their divergent thought worlds and knowledge domains. Furthermore, we find that the alternative interplay among digital and non-digital tools supports the gradual transformation of digital and analog expertise into a novel digital format. Taken together, our results explicate how boundary-spanning tools facilitate collaborative work among specialists rooted in diverse digital and nondigital knowledge domains. Our findings contribute to the literature on knowledge integration and coordination in cross-domain collaboration and digital innovation.
doi:10.1016/j.respol.2019.103819 fatcat:yobf2fzsqnf5ddr4mcer7izgbu