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Stitching an organisation’s knowledge together - communities of practice as facilitator for innovations inside an affiliated group

: Weissenberger-Eibl, Marion A.; Ebert, Dominik


Howlett, Robert (Hrsg.):
Innovation through knowledge transfer 2010 : Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Innovation through Knowledge Transfer, Innovation KT' 2010, organised jointly by KES International and the Institute of Knowledge Transfer, and taking place in Coventry, UK on 7&8 December 2010
Berlin: Springer, 2011 (Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies 9)
ISBN: 978-3-642-20507-1 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-642-20508-8 (Online)
ISBN: 3-642-20507-0
International Conference on Innovation through Knowledge Transfer <2, 2010, Coventry>
Fraunhofer ISI ()

A major challenge for innovation inside an affiliated group, such as the Robert Bosch GmbH (Bosch), is to enable an effective knowledge exchange between its subsidiaries. One of the driving forces in Bosch’s internal knowledge transfer is communities of practice (CoP). During the last fifteen years the company has established these experience exchange groups around its most important technical topic areas. By conducting a qualitative study we wanted to find out how these groups influence the handling of knowledge. In addition to the expected results on the identification and the transfer of knowledge, we also discovered that communities of practice advance innovation in an indirect way. Bosch files 15 patents per working day. To establish an evidence, whether communities of pratice contribute to this knowledge creation, we conducted a second study. Within the study, we analysed the relationship between inventions and communities of practice quantitatively and found a significant correlation.