Roles of Giant Cluster in Innovation


Roles of Giant Clusters in Knowledge Diffusion and Recombination

Sungyong Chang,

Columbia Business School, Columbia University

Jeho Lee and Jaeyong Song

 Graduate School of Business, Seoul National University

[SSRN Working Paper Version]


      In this paper, the inventor collaboration networks in the semiconductor division of Samsung are examined during the period from 1982 to 2006. The data analysis demonstrates that in the beginning, the collaboration networks were made up of unconnected small clusters corresponding to subunits. In the 1990s and onwards, a giant cluster made up of bridges connecting previously unrelated small- and medium-sized clusters emerged. However, hubs or extremely well-connected individuals are absent. To identify the role of the giant cluster in facilitating innovation, we develop computational models. Two roles are identified: knowledge integrator and knowledge reservoir. The giant cluster acts as a knowledge integrator by facilitating knowledge diffusion between previously unconnected clusters. As the cluster grows and more ties are formed, knowledge diffusion increases monotonically. However, in the case of knowledge recombination, performance does not increase monotonically with additional bridges. With too many bridges or hubs, knowledge recombination performance declines because giant clusters cannot keep diverse knowledge for future use—i.e., it is unable to play a role of knowledge reservoir. We find that only giant clusters with a modest proportion of bridges can act as a knowledge reservoir and facilitate innovation by better preserving diverse knowledge.

Key words: Network; Knowledge; Evolution; Innovation

Author: sungyongchang

Hi! I am Sungyong Chang, an assistant professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School. My research interests lie in the area of creativity & innovation, and computational social science. You can also find my working papers in my CV, and on my SSRN page and Google Scholar. I graduated from Columbia Business School in May 2018 and earned BA in Business and Economics as a valedictorian from Seoul National University. I like to read science fiction & mystery novels, play board games, room-escape games, and travel.

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