Managing Innovation Search and Select in Disrupting Environments
Russell, William Edward
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis explores how organisations manage new product development (NPD) focused innovation across a portfolio of core, adjacent and breakthrough environments. The study focuses on the search and select phases of the innovation process, and how incumbents identify and validate a range of opportunities. Organisations face the paradox of how to establish search and select routines for focal markets, while also setting up routines to sense and respond to disruptive innovation signals from adjacent and more peripheral environments. The study builds on research into peripheral vision, and considers how organisations operationalise innovation search and select in disrupting environments. To analyse how organisations manage search and select in turbulent environments, the author conducted research in the disrupting higher education (HE) publishing industry using qualitative research methods. The study focused on ten case companies, and the researcher conducted 61 interviews with 63 individuals over a six month period across ten companies publishing 9,000 out of the world’s 32,000 academic journals. The interviewees ranged from CEOs and CTOs to production, operations, editorial, publishing, sales and marketing directors and managers. The analysis revealed 11 search and select capabilities that need to be in place to manage NPD effectively in HE publishing. The research identified five contextual factors that influence how search and select is operationalised in disrupting environments. A framework is proposed to enable the mapping of individual opportunities within a wider NPD portfolio. The project identified ten key market insight areas where firms in the HE publishing sector need to focus. The findings have implications for practice, especially for HE publishers, online media companies, and business to business service organisations. Further research is proposed into how the cognitive frames of boards and senior teams affect the structure and operationalisation of NPD portfolios; how visual media companies search for, develop (ideate) and select programme and film projects in the disrupting media sector; and how workflow mapping and the identification of jobs-to-be-done is deployed within the NPD process in different settings.
PhD in Management Studies