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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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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

Matching the Creativity Supply Side to Your Marketing Demand

Idea posted: April 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

A team of researchers offers a framework to help organizations support creativity more effectively. Elements of this framework including balancing the usefulness and originality of creative ideas depending on the organization’s needs and choosing the best approach to creative ideas: 1) focusing on the sheer quantity of new ideas, 2) exploring the potential of a category, or 3) looking for creative ideas across categories.

Idea #700
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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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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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Tada' the Chinese poles, 2004 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Build Ambidextrous Teams to Combine Present and Future Objectives

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

Many companies separate short-term activities focused on the present (e.g. customer service, marketing) from long-term activities focused on the future (e.g. new product development). A new study, however, reveals the power of ‘ambidextrous’ teams, where cohesion overcomes the challenge of pursuing both present and future objectives.

Idea #613
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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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Jimmy Wales in Duisburg, Germany. Champagne reception (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Designing Experiential Services So Customers Remember the Best Parts

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Customers tend to remember the end of an experience (for example, the last days of a vacation) and also tend to become used to a level of experience (for example, the view from their hotel room). Keeping these two psychological tendencies in mind, companies can structure a customer service encounter that leaves satisfied customers with memories of a great experience — and have them coming back for more.

Idea #551
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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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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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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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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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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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Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, Auguste Renoir, 1876, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Crowdsourcing New Product Ideas Over Time

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Is your organization thinking of using online crowdsourcing applications to collect ideas for new products and services? If yes, it is not the only one; a number of large companies have been turning to crowdsourcing in recent years, including the technology corporation Dell. Read on to find out what an analysis of their application can tell you about how to use crowdsourcing in your own organization.

Idea #296
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Sir James Dyson puts on Dyson product launch, Sydney, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Eureka! How to Get that Great Idea to Market

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: Henley Business School

‘Making a market’, or creating a need for something no-one has experienced before, is difficult enough for the most well-known sellers, but for entrepreneurs it is doubly so. To overcome the hurdle of succeeding with a new product, they need to work not only on the innovation itself but also on educating potential customers. This research sets out an approach to market-making for entrepreneurs in certain complex markets.

Idea #286
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Mark Webber's Red Bull Formula One car, Canadian Grand Prix, 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Product Choice: Are You Paying Attention?

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Product choice is linked to the amount of prior attention or conversely, inattention, that we give to something before encountering it again at a later date, when we either choose or reject it. Leaders should ask themselves what their organization can do to guard against the risks of its brand or products being overlooked.

Idea #218
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Children showing a Koh-Kae can (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Healthy Bottom Lines – Food Marketing and Obesity Prevention

Idea posted: August 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
Institutions: Cornell University, INSEAD

Food marketing has a profound — and complex — influence on consumers and is often blamed for the (increasingly global) obesity epidemic. Food companies are not in business to make people fat, however. They’re in business to make money. Research into the effects of the ‘4 Ps’ of marketing — ‘price’, ‘promotion’, ‘product’ and ‘place’ — on food consumption suggests there are profitable changes they could make to help people eat more healthily.

Idea #188
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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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Noah's Ark, Cameo by Allessandro Masnago who worked in Milan around 1600 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Severe Weather: Moderating Its Impact on Productivity

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

As the extreme temperatures and violent storms caused by climate change continues to create havoc, a team of researchers from Columbia Business School and The Wharton School is investigating the impact of weather on productivity. Using productivity in US automobile assembly plants as the basis for the research, they demonstrate the correlation between bad weather and poor productivity, even in industries that are not ‘climate-sensitive,’ such as manufacturing and services.

Idea #154
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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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DIANA, the first computer built by Norwegian pioneer  Jens Glad Balchen at the Department of Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU in mid 1950s (Source: NTNU)

Human Judgement Vs Computer Aided Forecasting

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Is your company about to launch a new product or service into the market? If so, you know how crucial it is to predict as accurately as possible how it will be received; otherwise, you are putting at risk precious time and resources engaged. According to this Idea, there is a way to make an intelligent forecast that involves a combination of human and computer judgement. Faculty from Judge Business School and IE Business School explain how.

Idea #139
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