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Staying Competitive Today While Preparing Full-On for Future Success

Idea posted: July 2019
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Companies must be ambidextrous: they must focus on winning the present while at the same time laying the foundation to win the future. The challenge is that emphasizing one priority can undermine the second. A recent study offers some guidelines for overcoming the challenge of ambidexterity by examining key factors – sometimes complementary, sometime conflicting – that enable companies to focus on the present and the future.

Idea #748
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Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh,1889 (Courtesy: Museum of Modern Art, New York)

To Become a Creative Star, Collaborate with Stars

Idea posted: February 2019
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

A new study shows that while innovators benefit from all collaborations, collaborations with creative stars are more likely to lead to breakthrough innovations — and enable the innovator to emerge as a creative star in his or her own right.

Idea #732
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Less Competitive Pressure Leads to Less Innovation

Idea posted: December 2018
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Taking advantage of the suddenly reduced threat of hostile takeovers of Delaware-incorporated companies, two researchers demonstrate the significant reduction of innovation efforts when competitive pressure is eased. In short, less competition leads to less innovation.

Idea #723
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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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Source: Pexels

How to Choose the Right Innovation Intermediary

Idea posted: March 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The use of innovation intermediaries to find outside solutions and ideas or innovation partners is becoming more common. Choosing the right intermediary can depend on factors such as the type and complexity of problems or needs, whether the search for partners or solutions, and the extent of the envisioned collaboration among innovators.

Idea #699
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Photo by Simone Busatto on Unsplash

Geography of Innovation: More Emerging Regions Involved, Advance Economies Still Dominate

Idea posted: January 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: Henley Business School

While emerging countries are starting to generate more innovation, most of the world’s innovation continues to be clustered in regions of the advanced economies.

Idea #689
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Paris Diving Exhibition January 12, 2015

Choosing the Right Innovation Partners

Idea posted: November 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

New research describes how the most effective collaborative behaviour (i.e. the type of technology partner firms you decide to pursue) can depend on whether your industry emphasizes R&D and innovation — or whether it is more technologically stable. 

Idea #629
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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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Water polo at the 2012 Summer Olympics (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation and the Pros and Cons of Close Personal Relationships

Idea posted: September 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Not all dimensions of social capital have a clear positive influence on organizational exploration activities. A new study shows that the acquisition of new knowledge, ideas and insight can be both helped and hindered when members of a team have close, trusting relationships.

Idea #621
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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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Detail from Royal Navy recruiting poster 'The Navy Wants Men', 1915 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Hunt for Innovative Ideas Externally or Internally – Just Not Both

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

Time is limited. New research shows that the most innovative people choose to focus either on outside sources of innovation ideas or within the organization. Those who try to do both only build thin relationships that don’t yield the same results.

Idea #597
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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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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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SpaceJunk, Miguel Soares, 2001, 3D animation (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Companies Are Trading Innovation Quality for Quantity

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

When it comes to innovation, are companies mistaking quantity for quality? New research shows that companies who file for a greater number of patents are also filing for patents that are less valuable. This leads to overestimating one’s research productivity — and undermining future innovation.

Idea #512
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Peter Fonda rides a replica of the 'Captain America' Harley-Davidson used in Easy Rider (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Turn Your End-User Innovators Into R&D Partners

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

From self-customized motorcycles to modified software, end-users have the capabilities to develop and diffuse into their market their innovations. Producers have to choose whether to ignore these innovators or adapt their R&D processes to include them as partners.

Idea #513
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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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Work with Customers to Understand and Shape their Future Needs

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Understanding future customer needs is a key success factor for competitive advantage. However, an equally important success factor, and one that is often overlooked, is the ability of companies to influence customers on their future needs. Companies that can both understand and shape future customer needs have the greatest chances of future success.

Idea #494
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The Tribuna of the Uffizi (detail), Johann Zoffany, circa 1772-1778, The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

What to Get Right when Crowdsourcing

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

Social media channels have enabled organizations such as Dell, Starbucks, and NASA to successfully reach out to external contributors to collect suggestions, which have in turn stimulated innovation. This research, however, shows that most initiatives to source external contributions fail and that organizations seeking external ideas need to proceed with care and establish proactive processes to avoid potential pitfalls.

Idea #455
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Launch Intentional Communities of Practice in Global Companies

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

As professionals in an organization acquire knowledge and experience, they share this knowledge among themselves in informal communities of practice (CoPs). In large international organizations with geographically dispersed professionals, such organic, informal CoPs aren’t possible; however, research shows top management-initiated, deliberately structured intentional communities of practice (ICoP) can fulfil the same function of distributing knowledge throughout the organization.

Idea #441
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Yellow-Red-Blue, Wassily Kandinsky, 1925, Musee National Art Moderne, Paris

Is There an Open Business Model Right for Your Company?

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

As open business models, in which knowledge, competencies and resources from external firms are integrated into the business model of a company, become more widespread, companies with traditional closed business models are striving to determine if they should follow suit, and when. By understanding the antecedents of open business models — the internal and external factors that encourage or require the move to openness — companies can make a more informed decision on whether (and when) to change and adapt their business models.

Idea #432
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Three Product Innovation Strategies for Emerging Markets and How to Choose

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Emerging markets such as India or China represent lucrative new markets but also present a set of challenges, including lower income customers, poor infrastructure and poor service availability. There are three fundamentally different types of product and service innovation that can serve these markets: cost, frugal and good-enough innovation. Understanding the differences can help companies choose the right emerging market product innovation strategy for them.

Idea #430
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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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Generalist CEOs Not Specialists Spur Innovation

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Generalist CEOs — CEOs who have built their careers in different industries or for different firms — are more likely to spur innovation in their companies than specialist CEOs with technical knowledge who have never left their industries. The major reason is that generalists are not afraid: if they lose their jobs after an ambitious transformative innovation effort fails, their skills and knowledge will easily transfer to another job in another firm or industry. Specialist CEOs must tread more carefully.

Idea #349
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The Steben Twins, famous trapeze artists and innovators of the feet-to-feet catching technique (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation Partnerships — Loosely or Tightly Coupled?

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

‘Loosely coupled’ research partnerships — in which the flow of new ideas and new knowledge tends to be one-way — are often considered the ‘poor relation’ in the quest for innovation. They can, however, be just as successful as ‘tightly coupled’ and more reciprocal alternatives. Much depends on the conditions at the ‘in-sourcing’ company. 

Idea #329
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Seminal Californian rock group The Mothers of Invention, Netherlands, 1968 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mothers of Invention: Companies that ‘Spawn’ New Enterprises

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Many companies don’t try very hard to retain innovative employees who want to set up their own enterprises to develop ‘spin-off’ products. At first sight, this might seem like an unwise decision: when the employee leaves, commercial opportunities leave with them, and a new competitor ‘arrives’. There are circumstances, however, when ‘entrepreneurial spawning’ is preferable to exploiting ideas internally. Much depends on the fit between the ‘mother’ organization and the products under development.

Idea #318
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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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GINKS Focus Group, Ghana (Source: Wikimedia)

Managing Workforce Ideas Effectively

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

The effective management of employees’ ideas encourages people to participate in the organization, beyond the scope of their job. For organizations to sustain success in their markets, and in order to survive, they need to utilize their workforce as effectively as possible particularly by stimulating and implementing employees’ ideas for improvement and innovation. The results not only benefit the organization, but also contribute to employee satisfaction.

Idea #131
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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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