Innovation in a networked world

Innovation in a networked world

Here at APCA we have been thinking about network innovation a lot lately – not least because the Reserve Bank is also thinking about it, in their Strategic Review of Innovation in the Payments System.

There is a lot of management theory on innovation: diffusion of innovations, disruptive and sustaining innovation, even plenty of recent thinking about clustering of expertise and innovation networks (not the same thing as innovation IN networks, by the way).

But none of the theory I’ve read so far really grapples with the special problems of services that have a network effect – ie where the number and kind of other users of a service affect its attractiveness to any one user. Payments is a classic network service – merchants want to accept a card with the biggest possible issued base (or perhaps issued to lots of high net worth people); consumers want a card that is accepted in every shop near their home, and so on.

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