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Disney on Ice: The Incredibles, 2015 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Family Firms Innovate Less But Better: Their Boards Make a Difference

Idea posted: July 2021
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

While family firms develop fewer innovations and inventions than non-family firms, those innovations tend to be more relevant to the market. In addition, a tightly knit, well-connected board will encourage more innovation.

Idea #797
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Orville and Wilbur Wright examine canoe fittings before the first flight over water, 1909 (Courtesy: Library of Congress)

Uncovering the Elements of Knowledge at the Heart of Innovation

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: Dartmouth College

An innovative new idea is purposefully built by combining elements of knowledge — a daunting task of intuition, elimination and focus.

Idea #598
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The Architect’s Dream, Thomas Cole, 1840 (Courtesy: Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, USA)

How Successful Megaprojects Are Games of Innovation

Idea posted: March 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Megaprojects are not so much linear constructions of grand designs, but more a ‘game’ of innovation between players slowly ‘shaping,’ through a series of episodes, the project over time.

Idea #587
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411_World War 2 poster. Wireless operators (Courtesy: BT Archives)

CIOs: Coach and Communicate with C-suite for Digital Innovation

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

European companies are losing innovation opportunities because C-suite executives fail to respond to information technology and digital-related proposals of the CIO and the information technology function of the company, according to a new survey of European companies in three countries. The problem: lack of communication between IT and non-IT leaders.

Idea #573
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The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, by Norman Hunter, illustrated by W. Heath Robinson. (Courtesy: Penguin Books, First Published 1933)

Broad Knowledge or Narrow Expertise: What Works Best for Innovation?

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Who is most likely to find the innovative breakthrough: an expert with a deep knowledge of the domain or a cross-functional team with broader knowledge and a variety of experience? New research shows that the cross-functional and diverse knowledge approach to innovation can be a double-edged sword: shattering the myopia of experts but not providing the expertise needed to generate novel ideas in the field.

Idea #548
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Marion A. Trozzolo (1925 –1992) was an innovator, inventor, entrepreneur and  the first manufacturer of teflon coated cookware (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Should Technology Innovators Participate in the Commercialization Process?

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Conventional wisdom has it that technology based entrepreneurs are better off commercializing their product by contracting with an incumbent (i.e. licensing). But this trade-off may not always be optimal, because if the innovator can learn from its own commercialization experience, albeit losing some profit initially, it could avoid making the same trade-off with future innovations, thus securing long-term profitability. Alternatively, joint commercialization may be the best approach.

Idea #448
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Dinamismo di Treno Nave Aereo, 1929, by Italian futurist painter Giulio D'Anna (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Inferior Innovations Often Beat the Best

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

In theory, companies base decisions on whether or not to buy a new technology on an objective assessment of its merits and demerits. In practice, however, it doesn’t always work that way. Random events and ‘copy-cat’ behaviours among competitors play a significant role in the spread of innovation.

Idea #369
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The Wagah border often called the "Berlin wall of Asia", is a ceremonial border on India–Pakistan Border,

Organizational Identity and Adaptation to Disruptive Change

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Discontinuous technologies (often the result of ‘disruptive innovation’) emerge at the periphery of organizational vision, requiring fundamental changes in business structures in order to be adopted successfully. So it is not surprising that they present particularly demanding challenges for executives. This Idea explains why organizational identity has an important role to play in dealing with this type of technological change.

Idea #272
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Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and the Apple 1 PC

Creating Innovative Business Models

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Choices organizations make about their business model often go unchallenged for a very long time. This is an underutilized source of future value. As an alternative or complement to product and process innovation - business model innovation can be where the greatest benefits lie. With that in mind, and before launching a new business model, managers should ask themselves the six key questions outlined in this Idea.

Idea #048
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