Driven by a rapid development of the so-called ‘open innovation’ paradigm, previous studies have provided broad evidence of the positive effects of external knowledge sources on innovation. Yet, little is known about the impact of external knowledge sources on innovative activities in the renewable energy sector. Based on an analysis of original survey results involving R&D organisations, we examine the role of different knowledge sourcing strategies for innovation in two technology fields, namely solar and wind power. The link between external knowledge sourcing and innovation performance is found to depend on sourcing strategies and technology fields. Our results contribute to the evaluation of strategy design by showing that solar power innovation benefits from a broad search strategy drawing on a large number of external knowledge sources, while wind power innovation tends to thrive through intensive use of a more limited number of external sources. We derive implications for innovation and energy policy.
- Knowledge sourcing strategies
- Open innovation
- Renewable energy
- Solar power
- Wind power