Publicly funded innovation networks (PFINs) are an increasing form of organising joint innovation activities. Yet, little is known about this form of organisation which mixes characteristics of centralised and de-centralised innovation networks. This research investigates how processes of network formation affect its operation in PFINs as a hybrid form between centralised and de-centralised networks. Presenting rich data from a PFIN in the Scandinavian maritime industry, the findings show three patterns linking network formation and operation. The first pattern – well-aligned centralised and de-centralised approaches - in network formation resulted in well-functioning network operation. The second pattern - misalignment between centralised and decentralised approaches in network formation resulted in stagnating innovation activities during network operation. The third pattern - a pre-dominant decentralised approach during network formation resulted in unconnected subactivities during network operation. This research contributes by showing the importance of utilising both centralised and de-centralised approaches and aligning them to enable well-functioning network formation and operation.