Radical innovation: making the right bets
Stamm, Bettina von
Advanced Institute for Management Research
Our research reveals that organisations, here in the UK and elsewhere, must face up to the complex challenges associated with exploring and developing radical ideas and innovations if they are to continue to be successful in the long term. ■ Discontinuous innovation – ‘doing something different’ innovation – is often the driver of sustained competitive advantage and shareholder value creation. As such the ability to support radical innovation is an essential organisational competence. ■ The decision-making process in which resources are allocated to innovation projects is extremely challenging, as the degree of uncertainty involved means that using conventional systems and processes often leads to radical ideas being rejected. ■ The research identifies twelve excuses that organisations use to justify their decision not to pursue radical innovation. Organisations must learn to recognise when they are making these excuses and find other ways of evaluating how to behave when faced with radical innovation. ■ The innovation selection environment that operates in organisations can be described in terms of four zones. In two of those zones, new strategies are required for innovation selection decision-making. ■ There are a number of promising strategies that can help organisations to back an innovation winner. These include: building alternative visions; bridge-building to/from outside the box; probe and learn method; using alternative evaluation and measurement criteria; mobilising sponsorship and championship; using alternative decision-making pathways; deploying alternative funding structures; using alternative – dedicated/devolved/decentralised – implementation structures; mobilising entrepreneurship inside and outside the firm. ■ Through a thorough understanding of the innovation selection process, organisations can avoid the pitfalls that lead to abandoning potentially marketwinning radical ideas. At the same time they can learn how to implement strategies that nurture and develop that all-important discontinuous innovation.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Report published by Advanced Institute of Management Research