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Hop to it! The impact of organization type on innovation response time to the COVID-19 crisis

Universität Hohenheim

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a changing environment posing many challenges that call for innovative solutions, leading to a changing innovation landscape. The project analyses which type of innovator is the quickest to react to the challenges and opportunities resulting from the crisis.

  • Disziplin: Wirtschaft
  • Forschungsmethode: Quantitativ
  • Forschungsdesign: Sekundäranalyse, Weitere Daten (z. B. Einzelinterview, Web Scraping, Laborwerte etc.)
  • Erhebungsstatus: Erhebung abgeschlossen, Ergebnisse veröffentlicht

Ziel der Studie

The goal is to explore particular organizational actors’ innovation response time by analyzing data from a commercial innovation database. Arguing that innovation response time mostly depends on how organizations perceive time, the researchers expect innovative start-ups to be the quickest and universities to be the slowest in responding to the crisis. Controlling for a set of external drivers of structural change, they find support for the hypothesis about start-ups. Contrary to their expectations, universities do not significantly differ in their innovation response time compared with incumbents. To underpin the robustness of the findings, they provide a specification curve analysis. The results indicate the significance of start-up–corporate collaboration and open innovation, especially in the aftermath of the crisis.


To analyze the effect of organization type on the generation of COVID-19–induced innovation activity, the scientists used data on the innovation level. To this end, they take the object-oriented approach and present an alternative to the so-called subject-oriented approach, which analyzes, for instance, firms on the micro-level. They identified COVID-19–induced innovations in Trendone’s commercial Trendexplorer database. Trendexplorer is a proprietary database covering more than 46,000 global innovations that are beyond the pure invention stage. The organizations responsible for the innovations have introduced them to the market and publicly communicated it. Utilizing the search term “corona-virus OR coronavirus OR covid-19 OR covid19 OR corona” on May 1, 2020, and after correcting for false hits (e.g., marketing innovations related to the Mexican beer brand Corona and hits referring to innovations before the discovery of SARS-CoV-2), they identified n = 136 innovations. The regional breakdown shows 23 innovations from Asia and Oceania, 39 from Europe, and 74 from North America. The first and last innovations in the dataset were observed, respectively, on February 12, 2020, and April 30, 2020.



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