A guest article by Dagmar Recklies

Cross-sectoral innovation means transferring approaches from other branches to one’s own field of business and thus creating something new. This concept is becoming a more and more important strategic tool in many companies. The reasons for this are obvious: Mature business areas, product groups and markets without big growth potentials meet disruptive change. Software-driven business models affect long-established industry structures. The expectations and needs of customers, who themselves often enough are under pressure to innovate, have changed.

By now, even the most conservative CEO should have realized: Digitalization cannot be averted, ignored or put aside with a smile. No reason to panic, however: Meeting the challenge today means benefitting from optimized work flows, product innovations and new markets tomorrow. Is your business ready for digital transformation? Find out by answering four simple questions!

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.