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Managing innovation by understanding the Laws of Innovation Innovation is the business process for creating new and insightful ideas and bringing them.
Table of contents

In addition to concept and lab tests, the tests also include market tests under real conditions in order to gain comprehensive feedback. Once the solution has reached maturity, it will be released for implementation and marketing. At the same time, the concepts for implementation and marketing are further developed and adapted. Outputs of this phase are usually technical specifications, CADs and know-how for application and production.

The last phase is about bringing the product to the potential customers. On the one hand, this requires the physical availability of the product. These include procurement, production and logistics based on defined concepts. On the other hand, the customer is aroused and then fulfilled. All marketing and sales channels are activated. As a basis, internal sales must be convinced and trained in order to bring the products to the customers in the main step. All these activities can be summarized as innovation marketing.

At the end of the innovation phases, the new product is transferred to product lifecycle management in the responsibility of product management. On the basis of the continuous evaluation and analysis of the product on the market by, for example, customer feedback or quantitative market analyzes, measures are taken to increase sales, margins and customer satisfaction. Among other things, the famous 4P tools of marketing are used. Various process models are available for the management of the innovation phases.

The most popular in practice are the. Regardless of the chosen process model, the content and sequence of the phases are always the same. Only the structure and type of settlement are different. Innovative processes after phases are indispensable. This is because they create structure and systematicity to avoid mistakes and to increase the innovative performance. This ensures that all important steps are completed in a timely and correct manner. If there were no processes and phases, one would orientate without orientation constantly back and forth rather than focused on the goal.

Born and raised in Vienna. We would be pleased to advise you on a possible cooperation to make your innovation management future-proof. Category: Innovation process. Because: The slowest, who does not lose sight of his goal, is still more rapid than the one who is wandering without a goal.

Insight In Innovation Managing Innovation By Understanding The Laws Of Innovation

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing The 4 phases of innovation The phases of an innovation , ie an innovation process , can be divided into four main steps: Idea : collection of innovation potentials, derivation of ideas, evaluation and release of ideas. Concept : Extensive analysis and derivation of concepts for the solution, implementation and marketing.

Solution : Development and testing of the solutions to the finished product. Market : Arouse and fulfill a customer's needs by implementing in procurement, production and logistics as well as marketing and sales. Phase 1: Ideas An innovation process always starts with the search for and finding innovative potentials and the derivation of ideas, which are subsequently evaluated. This can be: An unfulfilled customer requirement A problem with the customer A possible new market A new technical solution.

There are essentially two different approaches: Targeted search : The search for potentials is based on the innovation strategy and the derived search fields. Different methods are used, eg creativity workshops, LEAD user workshops , ideas contests. Random Finding : One encounters randomly discovering impulses for potentials. For example, one finds a new technology in searches.

However, employees can also generate impetus via the company's suggestion or on the basis of customer feedback.

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Phase 2: Concept From Phase 1 comes a concrete and released idea with goals and expectations. This is followed by an intensive analysis phase in order to gather as much information as possible about the idea and its further processing: Market and customer requirements Market potential, e.

Market size, market attractiveness Chances, e.

Differentiation possibilities for the competition Risks and feasibility, e. Technical feasibility, market entry barriers Framework conditions, e.

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Laws, standards, patents The most intensive and important analysis is that of the customer requirements, for example: What are the needs of customers? Are there any unfulfilled or unconscious customer needs? Which customer problems are there and should be resolved? What is the importance of needs? On the basis of the analyzes, first concepts are developed with regard to the Solution Implementation Marketing.

The solution first includes the requirements for the new product, the specification. Furthermore, there are first solution concepts in the form of descriptions, sketches or models. For a successful and feasible implementation, first thoughts have to be gathered for an implementation concept. It covers procurement, production and logistics. Marketing is also very important. The best solution is not successful if it is not marketed well.

This includes the product strategy, which defines the positioning, the USP, target markets, possible sales channels, the pricing strategy, etc. Second, opportunities and pathways to further discuss and establish the use of action research within the TIM discipline are identified based on the analysis of benefits and challenges for TIM research. In the medium-term, this enables greater academic and industry linkage for more rigorous research and in so doing helps strengthen the translation of research outcomes into practice.

The remainder of this article is structured as follows. The next section provides an overview of the bibliometric analysis including data collection and measures used. Next, findings of the bibliometric analysis are presented, followed by a discussion of the benefits and challenges of action research for technology and innovation management.

The study closes with a summary of the main insights and limitations and an outlook on further research.

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In order to map the research landscape of action research, a bibliometric analysis of discipline-spanning contributions to the field of action research has been conducted. Bibliometrics as a quantitative statistical analysis originated in library and information science Broadus, ; Pritchard, The method is now increasingly used in other research areas to map a certain field from a macro-perspective Zhang et al.

The bibliometric analysis is based on Scopus, provided by Elsevier B. As different disciplines show varying patterns of publishing research results, particularly concerning journal articles, conference proceedings, and books, no limitations were implemented in terms of document types. The search was conducted in November with results including all material up until the end of The search resulted in 16, documents related to action research.

This reduced the sample to 13, documents. In a first step, the disciplines involved in action research were analyzed as well as their respective publication outlets, more specifically peer-reviewed articles and reviews as well as conferences and books or book chapters. In a second step, the sample was reduced to peer-reviewed articles i. These articles were analyzed in terms of the most influential journals, authors, contributions, as well as institutions and countries, while providing additional disciplinary insights.

Using the total number of contributions in combination with citations and h-index captures the extent as well as the outreach and influence of contributions in the field Ding et al. In addition to the quantitative bibliometric analysis, qualitative insights are added to complete the discipline-spanning review of action research with a discussion of benefits and challenges particularly to TIM.

As of November , 13, documents on action research have been published. As publication structure and strategies can vary across disciplines, a detailed analysis of three key outlets of scientific research is given: 1 peer-reviewed articles i. Exceptions, as Table 1 highlights, are computer science and engineering, with conference papers the dominant or at least equal outlet for research publication.

This might be due to a more prominent role of conferences in these disciplines, which might mean that conference papers need to be considered when analyzing these disciplines, but this requires further research. Overview of central disciplines in action research. The start of a publication stream is considered as two consecutive publications with no more than three gap years. The seminal paper on action research by Kurt Lewin dates back to In the following five years, the disciplines of business, management, and accounting; arts and humanities; psychology; as well as nursing started publication activities on action research.

However, it was not until around the beginning of the s that action research led to a continuous publication stream and began to develop additional intensity. In , decision science published the first action research articles with consecutive contributions. Later disciplines are computer science and engineering with smaller gaps of eight and 12 years, with action research only gaining real momentum from the early 80s. The most recent discipline in our analysis is environmental science starting in A more general incline across respective disciplines is observed with the turn of the millennium.

The growth factor of the annual publication rates from until ranges from 1. Decision science and business, management, and accounting represent the lower middle field with a growth factor of 3. The upper middle field is formed by social science 7. Figure 1. Evolution of new action research publications in the key disciplines. Another key aspect of a bibliometric overview of action research is where studies on or involving action research are published, particularly concerning the focus and disciplines.

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Notably, these more dedicated action research journals are not amongst the most influential journals in terms of citations and impact factor. Similar to the most productive journals, the most influential ones are attached to social science and business, management, and accounting, but also to arts and humanities and decision science.

Underlining the interdisciplinary nature of action research, many journals show affiliations to more than one discipline. However, no TIM journal can be found amongst the most productive or influential journals.

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Two findings need to be highlighted in this context: On the one hand, there are very productive dedicated action research journals that focus on action research as a research method. On the other hand, highly influential discipline-specific journals are identified without a particular focus on action research.

Despite the inferiority in numbers, it seems that a discussion on the application as well as advantages and challenges of action research is happening on a discipline-specific level. One reason might be that the discussion on when and how to apply action research needs to consider the characteristics and boundary conditions of each discipline, which require and are crucial for discipline-specific action research models.

Table 2. Most productive and influential journals publishing action research. What is striking about the remainder of the articles is the high representation of management and, more specifically, TIM-related topics. In light of the fact that no TIM journal was found amongst the most productive outlets for action research, TIM-related topics and authors seem to be active but are publishing in different domains. This dispersion of TIM-related action research articles across non-TIM outlets reinforces the need for a discipline-spanning analysis of action research, in order to build a deep understanding of a successful application and the benefits and challenges of action research for TIM.

Table 3. Overview of most influential articles. Chris Huxham, with a total of 11 contributions, is the most cited and influential author with citations per paper. Moreover, most authors have published in a wider variety of disciplines, including medicine; business management, and accounting; arts and humanities; as well as psychology. Table 4. The most productive and influential authors. Compared to other areas, the country profile seems to be quite specific, with powerful streams of action research in a small number of countries. While citations per paper are also rather equally distributed, the University of Salford in the UK is the most influential institution with 42 citations per paper followed by Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, with Table 5.

Overview of institutions and countries. Social science and business, management, and accounting are well represented in the most active countries. Nursing, as well as arts and humanities, follow in the UK, Australia, and Canada, with the UK focusing on computer science in contrast to psychology in Australia and Canada. Action research in the US is positioned stronger in psychology, arts and humanities, and computer science. Brazil, in contrast, shows a slightly different profile.

While social sciences and business, management, and accounting are less dominant, action research is also robust in engineering and decision science. Global overview of most productive and influential institutions and authors. The bibliometric analysis revealed that action research is applied in a variety of disciplines, with social science clearly the strongest and business, management, and accounting including TIM following in second. The first and seminal publication by Lewin started the action research journey with publication activity often exhibiting long incubation phases. Publications on action research gained real momentum after the turn of the millennium with the steepest increases in engineering.

In addition to disciplinary streams, action research also shows particular strength in specific countries such as the USA, the UK, and Australia — although it might be interesting to investigate the influence of different cultural publication traditions onto these numbers. It is striking that the most productive journals total number of articles publishing action research are discipline-spanning and action research specific, while the most influential journals as well as articles impact factor, citations per article are published in discipline-specific journals.

Although TIM journals are not represented among the most productive or influential journals, TIM-related topics hold a fair share of the most influential articles in the action research domain. Most of these articles were published in journals from other disciplines, which aligns with the small number of 19 dedicated action research articles in TIM or innovation management in general. This might indicate that researchers interested in publishing action research articles aim for journals in disciplines, where action research is more accepted.

This stresses the need for a discipline-spanning analysis to understand the benefits and challenges of action research in TIM for a successful application. A subsequent qualitative analysis of action research literature reveals the benefits and challenges of action research for TIM. Following on from the bibliometric analysis, it became clear that action research approaches are scattered throughout a wide variety of disciplines, from which a TIM-specific model is yet to emerge.

The specific developments of action research streams in different disciplines also highlighted the need for tailored approaches to account for the varying boundary conditions and requirements in each discipline. The following qualitative literature analysis aims to take an initial step towards a TIM-specific action research approach by discussing the benefits and challenges of action research highlighted in the different disciplinary streams from a TIM perspective Table 6.

For this purpose, the central elements of TIM mentioned in the introduction are related to the respective benefits and challenges of action research:. This discussion can serve as a foundation for developing a TIM-tailored action research approach based on insights and learnings from a variety of other disciplines. This is necessary to deeply understand socio-technical innovation systems and different dimensions of innovators Levin, , which are characteristic of TIM. Their systematic investigation sometimes might create better questions and lead to better research. Lewin and Arens-Fischer and colleagues noted the importance of more applied theory when human agency is involved.

Closely working with clients also allows for a better understanding of organizational group dynamics and underlying power structures, interests, and interdependencies cf. Arieli et al. Competence building is a real advantage of action research in TIM since clients are often beneficiaries of training insights — sometimes direct or alternatively through osmosis — while also engaging in the problem-solving process.

This has spill-over advantages with potential to increase client commitment. Building trust sets the basis for more sustaining cooperative efforts between academia and clients and inevitably helps transition TIM knowledge and approaches into practice Kaplan, A pertinent issue hampering such a method relates to limited precision in interventions including sub-optimal or non-existent research and research design quality cf. Applied TIM research projects often bear the risk of focusing too strongly on a technology development part and neglecting an overarching methodological perspective.

Like commensurate methods and designs, action research requires deep expertise and adequate verification and justification of empirical efforts. Another challenge with this form of application-oriented research is a need for researchers to have skilled facilitation, problem solving, and communicative capacity beyond less invasive TIM research methods such as surveys or interviews cf.

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Aligning interests of clients and researchers is a key challenge and is far from trivial. This requires appropriate adjustments with trial and error and added time and potential additional resources Burnes, Effort, time, and cost of embedding researchers into a socio-technical innovation system with various innovators and stakeholders is a major challenge. Levin argues that this, along with a usually interdisciplinary character, adds to the complexity of a project.

Awareness of interests, power, and political games becomes critical where researchers are variously involved or embedded in these systems Mumford, Clearly, specialist social exchange competences such as building trust and avoiding controversies require experience and adequate capability Arieli et al. Nurturing researchers with action research curiosity and capacity with skills in problem solving as well as methodical and social competences is important. Action research also requires the communication of research findings to different communities and TIM stakeholders.

In terms of academic publications, action research papers often struggle with word restrictions of journals as a detailed and transparent description of the study and its research design can be quite lengthy. Table 6 summarizes the key arguments above based on a substantive analysis and synthesis of the action research literature in relationship to TIM.

Table 6. Technology and innovation management specific benefits and challenges of action research. The study at hand contributes a quantitative discipline-spanning analysis of different action research streams across the globe as well as a qualitative analysis of benefits and challenges of action research for TIM. First, the close relationship between theory and practice in action research proves to be particularly beneficial to tackle socio-technical innovation problems and therefore bridge the rigour—relevance gap in TIM.

However, in comparison to further TIM research methods, additional effort is required to prove the rigour and validity of the method. Second, the interdisciplinary nature of action research aligns well with the multi-faceted character of innovation and helps to span boundaries between disciplinary silos in TIM. On the other hand, TIM researchers need to be prepared and trained in how to take advantage of action research for boundary-spanning purposes.

Third, the human-centred and client-empowering action research approach enables the inclusion of the TIM-specific wide variety of stakeholders and the continuous balancing of their interests and requirements.

Insight in Innovation Managing innovation by understanding the Laws of Innovation

On the flip side, TIM researchers have the responsibility to ensure sufficient closeness between stakeholders and researchers, while maintaining independent research at the same time — which is less of an issue when using other TIM research methods. Fourth, the iterative action research process supports exploration in highly uncertain TIM environments, while the frequent pivots in action research projects are more likely to lead to more disruptive theory extensions. However, there is no TIM-specific action research methodology available that guides TIM researchers through the iterative steps of the action research process.

In summary, these insights provide recommendations and avenues for further research on where, when, and how to purposefully use action research in TIM:. A better understanding of the application of action research in TIM along with new TIM-specific research methodologies has the potential to enhance academic standing in industry and strengthen the translation of research outcomes into practice. Instead, action research will be a valuable enhancement of the existing TIM research methodology toolbox. Arens-Fischer, W. Action Research - Time for a Rediscovery?

Jacobsen Ed. Stuttgart: Fraunhofer-Verlag. Arieli, D. The Paradox of Participation in Action Research. Action Research , 7 3 : — Benner, M. Academy of Management Review , 40 4 : — Broadus, R. Scientometrics , 12 : — Brydon-Miller, M. Why Action Research? Action Research , 1 1 : 9— Burnes, B. Journal of Management Studies , 41 6 : —