Life after-death: knowledge trajectories after innovation failure

Start date

17 July 2023

End date

16 October 2024


Failure is common among innovative new-start enterprises, but firm closure does not necessarily equate to the ‘death of knowledge’. Yet we know surprisingly little about the ‘after-life of ideas’, partly due to an academic and policy focus on ‘winners’. This project investigates the post-failure mobility of different forms of knowledge – tacit (personal to individuals) versus codified (manuals, prototypes, patents, copyrights, etc.) – and whether and how that influences subsequent innovation. What types of knowledge survive firm closures, how does it ‘move’, and what factors determine its re-use?

The research focuses on tourism start-ups because they have high failure rates and the fieldwork will be undertaken in Spain so as to build on their previous EU Marie Curie-funded investigation of tourism innovation in that country. Three stages of interviewing are involved: with key informants in policy and funding organizations, with ‘failed’ entrepreneurs, and with other key stakeholders such as employees and shareholders.

Funding amount