Tencent WeChat’s Micro-Innovation of Integration and Iteration under Technical Paradigm Transformation

Luo Zhongwei 1, Jiao Hao 2 and Xu Yangfan 3

1 Institute of Industrial Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Beijing, China
2 School of Economics and Business Administration, Beijing Normal University
3 Wens Technology Co. Ltd, Beijing


Abstract: This paper attempts to broaden the theory of dynamic competences, defining them as the abilities of firms to integrate and reconstruct in a chaotic and complex environment of technical paradigm transformation (TP transformation). We have created a semi-interactive theoretical framework based on dynamic competences, technical paradigms and innovation strategies to investigate how corporate dynamic competences support innovation during TP transformation. Under this theoretical framework, this paper attempts to open the popular question of mobile Internet industry – the black box of “micro innovation” – to conduct an in-depth case study of WeChat’s micro-innovation featuring “integration” and “iteration”. The authors have discovered that the success of WeChat can be attributed to the following factors: seizure of strategic opportunities during TP transformation, effective organizational learning and knowledge management, and powerful virtual integration competences across regions, sectors and firms. These factors have led to the rapid, repetitive and precise iteration of innovation based on technical knowledge and user information. Open and coordinated innovation was carried out ahead of competitors, partners and lead customers, and effective quality control of micro-innovation was conducted to mitigate the uncertainties and risks of innovation failures. These factors have enabled WeChat to become a third-party service platform of disruptive innovation and value creation in the mobile Internet era. The theoretical contributions of this paper are as follows: it has enriched the theory of dynamic competences, conducted a groundbreaking analysis on the intrinsic mechanism of micro-innovation strategy for Internet firms from the height of technical paradigms, and elaborated how dynamic competences support innovation strategies during TP transformation. This paper offers theoretical support and practical guidance for Internet firms to innovate in the context of TP transformation.

Keywords:  technical paradigm, dynamic competences, micro-innovation, innovation strategy, case study


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