As organizations are increasingly relying on inter-firm collaborative networks such as strategic alliances to pursue information technology (IT) innovation, a significant challenge is to coordinate the knowledge heterogeneity and discontinuity. Facing this problem, scholars suggest that epistemic objects- defined as objects of investigation that are under-defined, unfolding objects in collaboration- could provide a solution, but we have only limited insights into the relationship between epistemic objects and KM in IT innovation alliances. By using a mixed-methods research approach, we found that epistemic objects facilitate interfirm acquisition, integration and sharing of knowledge. We make three contributions: 1) our focus on both affective and cognitive trust triggered by epistemic objects, provides a novel source of motivation for collaborative KM activities. 2) Our recognition of epistemic objects as knowledge elicitors provides a new insight into identification and coordination of knowledge heterogeneity within innovation networks; 3) we stress the independent role of epistemic objects that present an alternative to human control with instrumental artifacts on collaborative KM.