Course description

Innovation in Projects and Networks


Projects and networks are central features of innovation. They constitute contemporary and critical contexts for much of innovation activities in a range of industries and sectors. This course centers on networks and projects and their role for innovation, and more particularly the balance, interaction, and dynamics between the permanent and temporary features of innovation.

The underlying argument is the significant role of networks and projects for innovation, which contrasts to much conventional writings on innovation that typically has focused on the single firm as the primary locus for innovation. However, modern economies to a greater extent rely on inter-organizational relations, collaborative networks, and various kinds of inter-organizational projects to create and diffuse innovation. In particular, networks play a pivotal role in explicating the propensity to innovate, the diffusion of innovation and ultimately the market success of innovation. As a response to this development, this course will cover several streams of research to locate the contexts and institutional and network embeddedness of innovation, the network and inter-organizational dimensions of innovation. Through the study of state-of-the-art network research, this course addresses the link between social structure and several central properties of innovation. The course also elaborates on the role of projects to drive innovation and new organizational forms to drive innovation, especially innovation in project-based organizations. In that respect, the course seeks to combine recent research within the area of networks and projects to offer an alternative to the conventional firm-centric view on innovation.

Course content

  • The nature and dynamics of innovation projects

  • Innovation in projects

  • Innovation in project-based firms

  • Network perspectives on innovation

  • Innovation networks and inter-organizational collaboration

  • Network embeddedness of innovation and projects


Learning outcome knowledge

  • Have a good understanding of the forefront of knowledge on project-based organization, networks and innovation, including current debates and state-of-the-art, and be able to evaluate their expediency related to specific research questions
  • Have an understanding of the theoretical foundations for the research on innovation in projects and networks
  • Have an understanding of methodical challenges in research on innovation in projects and networks
  • Have a good understanding of knowledge gaps and central debates related to research on innovation in projects and networks, and be able to assess how they relate to their own PhD work

Exam organisation

  • Written assignment: 100%