Many businesses are good at creating value by developing innovative new products and services. But when it comes to capturing that value and turning it into profits, the inventiveness of executives and managers all too often reaches its limits. Either they don’t worry about value capture at all assuming that innovations will pay off by themselves, or they reduce the subject to pricing. By doing so, they miss out on growth opportunities, writes Stefan Michel, professor at IMD Business School Lausanne, in a recent Harvard Business Review article, and argues for a more creative and strategic approach.

In dynamic, technology-oriented industries, innovation is an important, if not the most important source of competitive advantages. There are basically two ways in which innovations can arise: inside and outside the organization. The latter is usually done in the form of contract research, in cooperation with other companies, or through acquisitions of technologies and companies. A relatively new approach to boost innovation, however, which is gaining in popularity lately, is what is called “acqui-hiring.” It involves large established firms buying struggling startup companies not for their products but solely to recruit entire teams of young and creative talents.

As previously reported on this blog, Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen was yet again named the most influential management thinker alive by Thinkers50. Christensen is best-known for his groundbreaking idea of disruptive innovation which has shaped a whole generation of managers and remains as relevant and as urgent as ever. Still many people are confused about what exactly disruptive innovation is and how it impacts business strategy. So, let’s try to clear things up a bit.

Innovation is still considered to be the core driver of competitiveness. The traditional innovation management approach of Western companies, characterized by high resource input, long development cycles, and lack of involvement of customers and other internal and external stakeholders, however, is becoming obsolete. Globalization, increased competition and cost pressures, and the triumph of the social web are forcing companies to fundamentally rethink their approach to innovation management. This article discusses three ongoing trends in innovation management which R&D managers and executives should bear in mind.

Is Your Innovation Project for Real?

Wednesday, 17. April 2013

Innovative strength is by all means one of the key drivers for sustained business success. Empirical studies confirm this again and again. The development of innovative products and services that offer unique value to the customer, however, tends to be very risky. If a business has a wrong idea of what the customers’ needs and wants are, of what the characteristics of the market are it is getting itself into, or even of its own ability to produce the desired product, it may not only lose the money invested. It may also run the risk of falling behind the competition and forfeiting its hard-earned competitive position.