Accelerated innovation through repurposing: Exaptation of design and manufacturing in response to COVID-19

Abstract

As the COVID‐19 pandemic spread across the globe in the first quarter of 2020, demand for specialised equipment in hospitals soared. As a result, firms from a variety of sectors repurposed their design and manufacturing to create new products in days. By examining 80 cases of this accelerated innovation, the research investigates how a shared purpose drives change in the innovation process. It applies the lens of exaptation – the discovery of unintended functions for technologies – to explain how product complexity and ecosystem structure affect accelerated innovation in this context. The research extends the application of exaption to manufacturing as well as product design; it identifies a relationship between complexity, exaptation and ecosystems. The research suggests that the ability to exapt design and manufacturing can determine a firm’s ecosystem role. These results lead to implications for theory and for practice, during the response to and recovery from the crisis.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/radm.12460
Divisions: Engineering & Applied Sciences
Engineering & Applied Sciences > Aston Institute of Urban Technology and the Environment (ASTUTE)
Engineering & Applied Sciences > Mechanical Engineering & Design
Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
Aston Business School > Advanced Services Group
Aston Business School
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors. R&D Management published by RADMA and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 1111/radm.12460 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-03-02
Published Online Date: 2021-03-02
Accepted Date: 2021-01-26
Authors: Liu, Wei (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8014-7218)
Beltagui, Ahmad (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-2687-0971)
Ye, Songhe

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