PITA Fiscal Year 2008 Projects - Product and Process Design and Optimization

Knowledge reuse for innovation and the microfoundations of spillovers

Principal Investigators: Francisco Veloso, Eden Fisher, Antonino Vaccaro

This project aims to better understand knowledge transfer processes in Research and Development environments. In particular, it investigates the reuse of specialized technical knowledge for innovation within a firm, an aspect still poorly understood. This project will be developed in the context of the R&D of Alcoa, the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities. One of the competitiveness pillars for Alcoa is innovation through world class technology and R&D. In this context, the ability to leverage and integrate specialized knowledge across markets and business opportunities is seen as of critical importance for innovation to fulfill its role in the firm. The activities include the a detailed case study of one project associated with R&D knowledge reuse for innovation, as well as a systematic comparative analysis of determinants of this knowledge reuse across a number of projects. This project will help us identify critical elements that facilitate or impede the reuse of specialized knowledge for innovation within firms and will further our comprehension of the microfoundations of spillovers. It will also provide direct recommendations that will further the innovation capability at Alcoa and, through that, the whole competitiveness of the firm.