Architectural Innovation

How are component versus architectural knowledge managed inside an organization?

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            For product development to be successful, both component and architectural knowledge are necessary (Henderson & Clark, 1990). Component knowledge is knowledge regarding each core design concept and how each core design concept is implemented in a particular component. Architectural knowledge is knowledge about the various ways through which the components are integrated and linked into a coherent whole. While component knowledge within an organization is managed by specific specialized individuals, such as the upper management, architectural knowledge is managed by the employees, who are informed on the integration of different components.

How do you identify an architectural innovation?

            Architectural innovation has to reconfigure an established system to link together the existing components of a system in a new way (Henderson & Clark, 1990). It is triggered by a change in component design. It destroys the usefulness of an organization’s architectural knowledge while preserving the usefulness of the knowledge about the organization’s product components. By observing these traits, one can easily identify an architectural innovation and differentiate it from other types of innovation.

How do you allocate existing resources to develop an architectural innovation successfully?

            Organizations confront their technology and the market environment to identify areas of improvement, after which they build knowledge and capabilities around recurrent tasks to develop new ways of doing things and linking components. Through architectural innovation, an organization is able to cope with emerging complexities and market changes.


Henderson, R. M., & Clark, K. B. (1990). Architectural innovation: The reconfiguration of           existing. Administrative science quarterly, 35(1), 9-30.

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