In the ever-increasing dynamics of global business markets, firms must use all possible sources to innovate continually. This study aims to explore how supply chain innovation can be fostered through joint efforts between firms and their supply chain partners.
At least two areas advocate innovation through external relations, namely, supply chain collaboration and open innovation. This study aims to provide a holistic insight into how vertical and horizontal partnerships can be implemented to help supply chains become more innovative, building upon commonalities and differences between the two areas.
This study proposes a conceptual framework for supply chain innovation based on the following three ambidextrous capabilities: purpose (i.e. knowledge exploration and exploitation), span (horizontal and vertical collaboration) and orientation (i.e. incremental and radical innovation). With five propositions, the link between the three ambidextrous capabilities and supply chain innovation is explained. The implementation of the framework is articulated through an illustrative real-life case.
The concept of open innovation in supply chain settings is progressively essential yet under-researched. This study is an early attempt to draw on the available theories and literature on open innovation and supply chain collaboration and elaborates how supply chains can facilitate and adopt a more open approach toward innovation.