Digital Innovation and Incubators: A Comparative Interview Study from the Perspective of the Automotive Industry

AbstractAs non-corporate (herewith referred to as “independent”) incubators gain in popularity for propelling digital innovation, traditional automotive firms have set up in-house incubators (herewith referred to as “corporate”) to accelerate innovation without disrupt-ing too much the inherent organizational structures and corporate cultures. The overarching objective is to establish the expected benefits for automotive firms from independent incubators when organizing corporate incubators. Using a comparative interview study, ten successful independent incubators in North America are discussed in terms of their ability to provide support in the digital domains. Our work has resulted in novel operating models for categorizing incubators to describe variations in focus areas and support for digital innovation. The results sheds light on how corporate incubators (internal to automotive firms) have the potential to shield digital ventures from the complexities of large and traditional establishments, and to promote interactions with other business units within the firm when performing digital innovation.


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