Innovation Process

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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

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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

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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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Creating a culture of innovation

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The CEO of W. L. Gore & Associates offers insights into how the company has built a culture that fosters innovation.

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Breakthroughs and the "Long Tail" of Innovation

To understand how breakthroughs in creativity occur, managers must understand how most collaborations work. “Managers first need to understand that invention is essentially a process of recombinant search," writes Lee Fleming. “That is, I adopt the classic definition of invention as a new combination of components, ideas or processes." Fleming adds that “Almost all inventions are useless; a few are of moderate value; and only a very, very few are breakthroughs. Those breakthroughs constitute the 'long tail' of innovation."

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