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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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Pros and Cons of Collaborative Spaces for Innovation

Idea posted: June 2021
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Dedicated collaborative spaces for cross-functional and open innovation (mixing internal and external participants) teams can encourage and enhance collaboration, but can also generate their own constraints. Co-location alone is not a silver bullet strategy for seamless collaboration among diverse teams.

Idea #793
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Hyundai's Sriperumbudur plant near Chennai (Courtesy: Hyundai Motors India)

Using Frugal Innovation to Serve Emerging Market Customers

Idea posted: November 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Using a case study of Hyundai in India in support, two professors show how multi-national corporations from developed countries can access a growing middle class in major emerging companies. The two key success factors: engaging in frugal innovation, based on frugal engineering, bricolage and modularity, and developing collaborative ecosystems

Idea #718
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The invention of compass (Polar stone), Annonymous, Gdańsk, 1590 (Courtesy: National Museum Warsaw)

Why Good Ideas Don't See the Light of Day

Idea posted: October 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

For a novel idea to be accepted and implemented, decision-makers must buy into its future success. Unfortunately, the managers who decide the fate of new ideas are the worst predictors of market success.

Idea #626
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Ostriches in Qatar (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Learning by Hiring: The Challenge of Teaching Entrenched Incumbents

Idea posted: July 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

New scientists can bring new knowledge and expertise to a research team and improve the output and results of the team. However, companies need to beware of long-tenured incumbents who won’t take kindly to the arrival of these upstarts. Nor will they be welcomed into a non-collaborative environment.

Idea #614
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Innovation Leaders Turn Creative Ideas Into Action

Idea posted: March 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Many companies recognize the importance of innovation yet continue to be ineffective innovators. The reason: their leaders lack the right skills to encourage, manage and implement innovation. Recognizing that innovation requires a structured process, multiple perspectives, silo-busting boundary-free and polarity thinking are important first steps.  

Idea #588
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Coffee Break ad from Life Magazine, featuring Gracie Allen and George Burns, 1953 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Slack Time Is Important for Innovation: It’s Not What You Think

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

New research shows that innovation efforts benefit from giving employees free time (aka ‘slack time’), but not for the reason you might believe. While Google’s free time initiative might have led to creative new ideas, the real benefit of slack time is to allow innovators to get the administrative and other execution-oriented tasks done.

Idea #558
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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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Innovation is Key to Exporting Success for SMEs

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Innovative companies can find success in export markets, but is there a correlation in the other direction: Can exporting lead to greater innovation? A researcher in Australia, dissecting data from thousands of Australian SMEs, discovered some correlation between exporting and innovation, but concluded that it is wiser to focus on innovation first, before attempting to conquer export markets.

Idea #520
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The Golden Goose, cover illustration by Mary Lott Seaman, published in 1928 by the MacMillan Company

Will Corporations Leaving Basic Scientific Research Kill the Golden Goose?

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Who will invent the new Nylon? Unlike the DuPonts of the past, large corporations are focusing more on applied research, which can lead more quickly to products, than basic, longer-term scientific research that benefits society as a whole.

Idea #509
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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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Balancing Incentives, Risk and Tolerance of Failure for Collaborative Innovation

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Financial incentives for managers of innovative projects, a firm’s tolerance for failure, and the number of managers involved in the projects all influence resource allocation (and chances for success) for those projects. 

Idea #418
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The Procession of the Magi (detail), by Benozzo Gozzoli (c 1421–1497), Chapel of the Magi, Medici Palace Florence

When Suspending Group Debate Enables Innovation

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Traditionally, new product development teams generate ideas for innovations by ‘continuous’ group interaction. This method has its drawbacks, however. Many good ideas get lost in the ‘noise’ of the debate. Taking a short break from discussion to allow people to reflect and gather their thoughts could make a real difference to the number and diversity of ideas — and, importantly, the quality of the final concept.

Idea #388
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Robert Hooke, at Christ Church Oxford, where he studied surrounded by some of his inventions. Painting by Rita Greer 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Great Innovation! But What’s it for? Marketers Beware

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Product designers and marketers might be very excited about a new product with impressive new features and a bold new design. But consumers will not recognize the newness of the product if they cannot figure out what the product is in the first place — which can lead to a major disconnect between the reaction that companies expect from consumers (“Wow, what a great innovation!) and the actual reaction (“What is it?”).

Idea #355
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Innovation and the Power of Positive Thinking

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: HEC Paris

A company’s ability to develop new products is not solely a function of its resources. Managerial cognition and organizational context play a big part. Negative perceptions of changes in the operating environment and defensive strategies are likely to lead to less innovative products and stifle creativity and entrepreneurship. We need to take an integrated, multi-dimensional approach to understanding innovation and new-product development decisions.

Idea #171
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Embrace infant warmer used to prevent hypothermia in newborns (Photo courtesy of http://embraceglobal.org)

Jugaad Innovation: Lessons for the West

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

There are many books on to how to inspire creativity and innovation in organizations. But what do you do when there is no shortage of great ideas and the problem is not finding them, but limited capital and other budgetary barriers standing in the way of making them a reality? Give up, or consider a new, frugal approach to innovation? In this idea, the principles of Jugaad innovation are explored, offering companies a new way to innovate when budgets are tight. 

Idea #152
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Solar-powered Camel Fridge System, Nomadic Communities Trust (Source: Wikimedia)

Reverse Innovation: Ideas from Emerging Countries

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Emerging markets are usually coveted for the potential customers they represent — perhaps hundreds of millions of new consumers who are looking (or will be looking in the near future) for products to buy.  Most companies, however, develop products for developed markets first and then adapt them to the emerging markets. Research conducted by two professors from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business reveals a new strategy that reverses the traditional flow of innovation. This new strategy calls for developing products that are adopted first in emerging markets and then adapted for

Idea #127
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Some Have Entertained Angels Unawares, Edward Clifford (1844-1907) (Source: Wikimedia)

Creating Harmony: Harnessing Stakeholders to Boost Innovation

Idea posted: April 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: Henley Business School

Collaborative innovation and co-creation between stakeholders can deliver value for businesses.

Collaborative innovation can be defined as: “Working with others, sharing knowledge and learning, and building consensus to invent something new or create a new way of doing something, with a view to realizing shared goals.”

Benefits include more – and better – ideas, reduced risk, increased quality and speed to market, reduced costs, new skills and resources, an enhanced brand, and the ability to create value for the common good.

Idea #122
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The Avengers, 1960s TV series starring Patrick MacNee (John Steed) and Diana Rigg (Mrs Emma Peel), ITV/ABC/Thames Television

The Pros and Cons of Sharing Intellectual Property

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: HEC Paris , INSEAD

This research reveals why, in certain situations, it is more beneficial for innovators to share their secrets rather than to protect them. It also shows why, perhaps even more surprisingly, that it is wise for imitators to limit the amount of intellectual property they absorb from others.

Idea #124
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Peasant Wedding Dance, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 1623 (Source: Wikimedia)

Tap Outside Communities for Innovations

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

While companies, especially larger companies, invest a significant slice of their budgets on R&D, researchers are demonstrating that breakthrough innovation and ideas often come from outside the organization — specifically from communities of product users and amateurs in the field. For Wharton professor of management Ethan Mollick, a leading authority on the topic, Apple’s App Store is the latest example of the power of user communities.

Idea #120
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Driving Risk Appetite Higher or Lower: Penalties Vs Rewards

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

‘Innovate or die’ we are told. What if an organization’s ability to innovate could be enhanced by managing risk-taking behaviour through monetary incentive schemes and through a culture that tolerates failure? In this Idea we identify the precise levers that shift risk appetite, and show how they can be tweaked to foster innovation.

Idea #059
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