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Collaboration between firms and industries is key to understanding emerging technologies, new research from Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) has revealed.

According to the new study, authored by Dr Melanie Wiener at WU’s Institute for Strategic Management, alongside researchers from the Johannes Kepler University Linz, cross-industry collaboration projects between non-competing organisations enable firms to prospectively make sense of new technologies and uncertain environments in ways that, alone, would not be possible.

The study saw Wiener and her colleagues follow an open strategy project made up of seven organisations from different industries, which was confronted with, and had to make sense of, novel issues and possible future consequences regarding blockchain technology.

First commencing in 2016, at a time when blockchain displayed the characteristics of an emerging technology, the study revealed that open strategy projects effectively facilitate ‘out-of-the-box thinking’, enabling individual firms to develop new frames and mental models without pressure from internal power or company processes.

The researchers also found that, through interaction with other organisations, individual firms were able to identify new meanings and application possibilities for emerging blockchain technologies. And, with this project incorporating numerous organisations, with differing priorities and goals, firms could benefit from not needing to agree on a shared view of any new technology.

Dr Melanie Wiener, from Vienna University of Economics and Business’ Institute for Strategic Management, says:

“The specific characteristics of open strategy projects – their collaborative (cross-industry) nature, the diversity of voices, expertise and priorities – make for an environment that facilitates new ideas and problem-solving. This kind of environment is critical when approaching uncertainty – technology-related or otherwise.”

The research paper, Prospective collaborative sensemaking for identifying the potential impact of emerging technologies, was published in the journal, Creativity and Innovation Management.

For a copy of the research paper, or to speak to Dr Melanie Wiener, contact Jonny Stone at or call 01582 790704.


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