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Informal networks increase innovation

Organizations that utilize extensive informal networks, powered by the peer-to-peer structures of the Internet, enjoy the added benefit of increased innovation and better access to knowledge and collaborators.

The new report Plug in Your Network – A Review of the Role Of Informal Networks For Knowledge Sharing And Innovation is the second report from the three-year research project The Internet and its Direct and Indirect Effects on Innovation and the Swedish Economunder the leadership of Professor Robin Teigland.

The research project examines the role of networks in entrepreneurship, knowledge sharing and support between individuals. The report provides insight into the relationships between informal networks and company performance. 

Some of the key findings from the report include the following:

  • A high level of valuable knowledge flows within companies’ ecosystems, even among competitors, due to informal networking opportunities.
  • A strong influential factor on the development and prevalence of informal networks is the Internet with its fundamental peer-to-peer structure by significantly increasing the opportunities for all sorts of horizontal communication and the kind of transboundary contacts, even between employees in competing firms.
  • There are also good indications that well developed informal networks can be a significant competitive advantage, both for firms and regions.

The project The Internet and its Direct and Indirect Effects on Innovation and the Swedish Economy is funded by The Internet Foundation in Sweden (Internetstiftelsen i Sverige, IIS). The project previously published the report, Chasing the Tale of the Unicorn – A study of Stockholm’s misty meadows, which investigated the roots of the current “unicorn” success in Sweden and its capital city of Stockholm. In early 2018, the project will also publish the book, The Rise and Development of FinTech: Accounts of Disruption from Sweden and Beyond, through Routledge Publishing.

Press contact at SSE for this report: 
Michal Gromek, 
Ph.D Researcher in Crowdfunding and FinTech, 
Email: michal.gromek@phdstudent.hhs.se

Press contact at The Internet Foundation, IIS for this report: 
Clara Fröberg, Head of PR
Tel: +4672-003 29 91
E-mail: clara.froberg@iis.se

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