Enhancing Absorptive Capacity - The Case of Design Thinking

This article aims to uncover the role of Design Thinking in the innovation processes of large companies. We propose Design Thinking as a means of fostering innovation by enabling the development of Absorptive Capacity. Thanks to its procedural and collaborative nature and its dependence on internal and external information, we show that Design Thinking allows large companies to build innovation capabilities by recognizing, absorbing and applying external knowledge. Our findings contribute to the research on Design Thinking and Absorptive Capacity. First, we aim at advancing the development of a theoretical background for a still largely unexplored, but nevertheless growing, phenomenon; second, we contribute to the Absorptive Capacity discourse specifically in three areas: recognizing the value of external information, social integration mechanisms, and the interplay between the assimilation and transformation of information.

Presented at:
76th Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Anaheim, California, USA, August 5-9, 2016

 Record created 2016-05-17, last modified 2018-03-17

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