A Growing Number of Firms Are Seeking to Leverage Emerging Technologies, Such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 3D Printing, to Enhance their Innovation Efforts. These Seemingly Distinct Technologies Are Currently Coalescing into an Encompassing New Technology Called the Digital Twin. This Technology Allows Innovative Firms to Create a Digital Replica of a Physical Entity that Evolves over its Life Cycle. This Article Explores the Implications of the Digital Twin for Innovation Theory and Practice. First, We Examine the Connection between the Digital Twin and Three Related Technologies (I.e., 3D Printing, Big Data, and AI). Second, We Create a Typology of Four Categories of Digital Twins (I.e., Monitoring, Making, Enhancing, and Replicating) and Illustrate their Relevance for Innovation Management. Third, We Offer a Set of Four Case Studies that Exemplify This Typology and Illustrate How Digital Twins Have Been Put into Practice. Fourth, We Craft a Set of Digital Twin-Related Future Research Directions that Encompasses a Broad Range of Innovation-Related Topics, Including Service Innovation, Co-Creation, and Product Design. We Hope that Our Examination of the Digital Twin Serves as a Catalyst to Help Advance Innovation Thought and Practice in This Intriguing New Domain.


Business and Information Technology

Keywords and Phrases

3D printing; artificial intelligence; big data; digital twin; Industry 4.0

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1540-5885; 0737-6782

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2023 Wiley, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2023