An exploratory study of innovation space for knowledge creation

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

An exploratory study of innovation space for knowledge creation


Author: Ma, Chun Fu Ricky
Title: An exploratory study of innovation space for knowledge creation
Degree: Eng.D.
Year: 2012
Subject: Knowledge management.
Knowledge acquisition (Expert systems)
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Engineering
Pages: xv, 308 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: The main research questions of this thesis are the following: What processes facilitate knowledge creation? How does the spatial environment (physical space, virtual space and mental space) influence knowledge creation? In other words, the research objective is to explore how space shapes knowledge creation. Is there a space or place in existence that helps us generating new ideas? Can we design and build an appropriate spatial environment that could effectively facilitate knowledge creation? What are the physical and mental dimensions such as light, noise, smell, design, temperature, time, ambience etc. that would facilitate knowledge creation? Will epistemology and metaphysics have strong influence on it? What are the theoretical aspects behind this? Nishida (1921) advocated his philosophical concept that spatial environment (Ba in Japanese) would influence our physical and mental behavior. Nishida recognizes Ba is a shared context, space or place in motion to discuss problems associated with meaning creation and the nature of knowing subjects. The knowledge creation theory developed by Nonaka attempts to synergize Ba and knowledge creation together (Nonaka, 1991, 1994). Nonaka and Konno argued that Ba is the central theme of dynamic knowledge creation between tacit and explicit knowledge and each mode of knowledge conversion is possible through appropriate activities at different Ba. There seems to be a lack of understanding of the spatial relationship and knowledge creation, and research into this particular important area of knowledge creation is relatively weak. This thesis is about the role of space and its relationship with knowledge creation. The aim of this research is to explore and explain how innovation spaces are key - either fostering or constraining knowledge sharing and creation. Certainly there are more factors, besides spaces, at play in this relationship such as dynamic capability from the resource-based view and absorptive capabilities from an organization.
The author of this thesis, as a practitioner to foster the development of hi-tech industries in Hong Kong, designed and implemented the "InnoNest", an innovation space platform in the Hong Kong Science Park. This was both an act of exploratory research and a solution to the practical issue of creating a Ba environment to facilitate effective knowledge creation for open innovation. This exploratory study describes the design philosophy, implementation and evaluation of the effectiveness of InnoNest. Literature on innovation, Nonaka's knowledge creation theory and Nishida's philosophical concept of Ba were reviewed. InnoNest was conceptualized with reference to the innovation platforms of "Future Centre" in Sweden and Netherland. The design framework of InnoNest has theorized and embedded Nonaka's knowledge creation theory to synergize Nishida's Ba concept for practical use in Hong Kong. The design philosophy of InnoNest was developed based on the collaborative effort of an international team of experts with diverse background and experience. InnoNest consists of a Knowledge Cafe (T House), Meditation Room (M room), Vow Room (V room) , and Brain Walk in which the four different modes of knowledge conversion (socialization, externalization, combination and internalization) are created and utilized. Exploratory study using qualitative experiments was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution concept and reflect on the lessons learned. These assessments included an evaluation of participants' experience, and a survey to understand participants' behaviours when using InnoNest for knowledge sharing and creation. InnoNest provides a good platform to test and verify the theoretical concepts of knowledge creation and Ba in a real life environment. In this thesis, the emphasis is on the practicality of the solution and its impact on knowledge generation. The experience gained provides a valuable reference for future research activities on how space shapes knowledge creation for open innovation. This study has developed an innovation space and tested the Nonaka's knowledge creation framework to obtain a better understand of creativity in relation to knowledge and innovation and the factors likely to stimulate this. This study demonstrates that the SECI knowledge creation processes such as Knowledge Cafe for socialization and externalization; Brainstorming for combination and Dialogue for internationalization are influenced by the physical, mental and virtual environments. These environments can be specially designed and implemented to facilitate different types of knowledge creation. The design of InnoNest also provides a good reference for organizations wishing to develop an organization's Ba for effective knowledge sharing and creation.

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