A taxonomy of innovation spaces from the innovation networks lens

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Collaborative innovation addresses intricate, multifaceted problems of a systemic nature involving a multitude of actors with diverse and often unknown expectations. To facilitate this collaboration, innovation spaces—such as Makerspaces, Hackerspaces, Fablabs, among others—have emerged as arenas where networks of actors interconnect and solidify. Understanding the diverse nature of these innovation spaces poses a challenge, particularly in distinguishing their specific characteristics and assessing how each contributes to fostering innovative networks. This article aims to address the question: how can we classify innovation spaces based on the innovation networks they constitute? To tackle this query, we initially conducted an in-depth exploration of various innovation spaces through web content analysis, scrutinizing their individual value propositions. Subsequently, employing innovation network theory alongside domain analysis methodology, we proposed a taxonomy designed to classify the distinct types of innovation spaces under scrutiny. Our taxonomy reveals three types of spaces—learn-and-explore, partner-and impact, and transitory—as well as convergent and divergent spaces, showing the diversity and complexity of networks they constitute. The findings also show that while the majority of innovation spaces unite diverse actors to drive collaboration and innovation, many resulting networks have a medium level of formality and are project-centric. These networks tend to be synthetic in nature, seeking to apply existing knowledge, and represent exploration networks wherein the adaptability and diversity of initiatives foster learning, the acquisition of new knowledge, and the development of fresh capacities through interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalJournal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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