Learning to Write Killer Apps? Implications from a System-wide Perspective in Developing Innovations for the Marketplace

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Commercially successful but not necessarily high-tech innovations can change the fortunes of firms and the quality of lives of many. This paper argues that while groups of specialists can quickly bring together knowledge from multiple domains in developing and implementing innovative ideas, a typical lack of system-wide perspective would prove to be a constraint over successive innovations. In contrast, a single individual who acquires specialist knowledge in multiple domains would avoid this constraint, but would incur a penalty to acquire knowledge across domain boundaries upfront. This leads to two opposing performance predictions on the performance of successive innovations: an inverted U-shape for the former and a U-shape for the latter. Moreover, experience developing innovations in groups would weaken the performance for subsequent solo innovations. These hypotheses are supported by empirical data on the download performance of third-party software applications written for use within the Facebook social networking context.


Technology and Innovation

Research Areas

Strategy and Organisation


Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2012, August 3-5

City or Country

Boston, MA

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