Innovation Process

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Navigating the Leadership Challenges of Innovation Ecosystems

Certain kinds of product or process creations involve not just one player but many to ensure success. Organizations working toward this kind of innovation need to think about the project’s innovation ecosystem, which includes identifying co-innovators, structuring project leadership, and potentially modifying how success is defined. “All these things need to be negotiated within the coalition” notes Ron Adner of the Tuck School of Business — a process that’s often under-appreciated or ignored.

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When Innovation Meets the Language of the Corner Office

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

Effectively communicating the innovation journey and output to executives requires translation. While innovation processes are becoming more widely used across organizations, they are not always fully embraced at the executive level. Innovationists need to become bilingual — able to present in the style that strategy consulting firms use when making formal recommendations and updates. When speaking to executives, innovation leaders should make sure they are not only heard, but understood.

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How to Succeed with Radical Innovation

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 8 min 

New research by J.P. Eggers of NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and Aseem Kaul of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management looks at how companies pursue radical invention and the success of those efforts. The researchers found that highly capable firms have much less motivation to take risks because they’re already so successful — but that they’re the ones most likely to succeed when they try to innovate.

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Improving Analytics Capabilities Through Crowdsourcing

Analytics capabilities can greatly expand a company’s ability to innovate — but what do you do when the talent you need just isn’t available? Agribusiness giant Syngenta, faced with an insurmountable analytics talent bottleneck, turned to crowdsourcing. Using a series of contests, it outsourced the development of a set of award-winning analytics tools to improve its decision making — and learned, in the process, some key factors supporting successful crowdsourcing.

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Leveraging Smart Data and Internet of Things to Realize Mass Customization

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 1 min 

In an on-demand webinar, Wolfgang Gruel and Frank Piller detail new experiments in personal transportation. Gruel and Piller say that transportation customers are on the cusp of having seamless travel experiences that synchronize all transit options: schedules, traffic conditions, and personal preferences. But making this vision a reality requires knitting together previously independent systems — in part through smart data and the Internet of Things.

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Finding the Right Role for Social Media in Innovation

Social media provides a game-changing opportunity to support new product development. But taking advantage of the opportunity requires more than just a Facebook presence with a loyal base of “friends.” To use social media for innovation, organizations need clear strategies and objectives. They also should look beyond social media used by the general public to lesser-recognized platforms, such as special user forums or expert blogs, for especially valuable user-generated feedback.

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Debating Disruptive Innovation

Few MIT Sloan Management Review articles garner as much attention as Andrew A. King and Baljir Baatartogtokh’s “How Useful Is the Theory of Disruptive Innovation?” After surveying 79 industry experts, King and Baatartogtokh concluded that many of the cases cited as examples of disruptive innovation by Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen and his coauthor Michael E. Raynor did not fit four of the theory’s key elements well. Here, three experts provide responses to continue the conversation.

“How Useful Is the Theory of Disruptive Innovation?” was the question raised by an article in the fall 2015 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review. In this issue, several more experts weigh in on the topic.

Image courtesy of Flickr user A. Strakey.

How Useful Is the Theory of Disruptive Innovation?

Clayton M. Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation has been very influential. But how well does the theory describe what happens in business? The authors of this article surveyed industry experts for each of 77 case examples of disruptive innovation found in two of Christensen’s seminal books. The results suggest that many of the cases do not correspond closely with four elements of the theory of disruptive innovation — and the theory may not fit as many situations as is often assumed.

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How to Network Your Way to New Product Ideas

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

What if what you know about the innovation process is wrong? That’s a question Eric von Hippel thinks companies should consider. Von Hippel, professor of technological innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has spent much of his career doing research that has led him to a radical conclusion: The traditional view of the product innovation process is flawed. In the traditional view, companies get too much credit for product innovation, according to von Hippel — and users get too little.

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The Best Length for an Idea Proposal

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

Managers who screen suggestions are busy and have short attention spans, so the ability to be succinct can make or break an idea. They want proposals that are neither skimpy nor turgid. And 250 words is often just right.

Courtesy of Flickr user Jinho.Jung

Bringing Open Innovation to Services

Services comprise more than 70% of aggregate gross domestic product and employment in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. As a result, both individual companies and entire economies face the challenge of how to innovate in services. One suggestion: Companies should both organize their innovation processes to be more open to external knowledge and ideas and also let more of their ideas and knowledge flow to the outside when not being used internally.

Image courtesy of Flickr user rishibando.

The 5 Myths of Innovation

This article explores the process of innovation in 13 global companies. Many of the standard arguments for how to encourage innovation were confirmed, but some surprises were uncovered as well. The article organizes its key insights around five persistent “myths” that continue to haunt the innovation efforts of many companies. The five myths are: (1) The Eureka Moment; (2) Built It and They Will Come; (3) Open Innovation Is the Future; (4) Pay Is Paramount; and, (5) Bottom Up Innovation Is Best.

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The Practice of Global Product Development

Best practice in product development (PD) is migrating from local collaboration to global collaboration. Global product development (GPD) represents a transformation for business, and it applies to a range of industries. The objective of this article is to present frameworks that can help companies address strategic and tactical issues when considering GPD. The concepts have been developed through discussions with more than 100 companies in 15 countries in North America, Europe and Asia.

Image courtesy of the World Economic Forum.

Innovation From the Inside Out

Nurturing a new and lasting idea doesn’t result from analyzing market data. Aspiring creators must act on what nonprofits already know: you get the best answers by burying yourself in the questions. The authors explore the efforts of companies such as Grameen Bank and Hindustan Unilever Ltd., the Indian subsidiary of the Dutch consumer products multinational Unilever N.V. They are engaged in serving the multitrillion-dollar consumer market at the “base of the economic pyramid” or BoP — the four billion people with annual per capita incomes below $1,500.

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