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The Innovation value chain [the sophisticated innovator)

Author: Hansen, Morten T. ; Birkinshaw, JulianINSEAD Area: Entrepreneurship and Family EnterpriseIn: Harvard Business Review, vol. 85, no. 6, June 2007 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 121-130.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: This article argues against the tendency of managers to import the latest and best management advice on how to improve innovation in large companies. Following a particular advice on innovation can be wasteful or even harmful. Instead managers need to take a step back and analyse their own innovation value chain to identify their specific problems. Different companies have different innovation problems; importing a new and hot innovation concept may not address those problems but instead make matters worse. Drawing on multiple research studies, the authors offer a new framework - the innovation value chain - that helps managers spot their weakest and strongest links in a chain spanning idea generation, conversion, and diffusion of new business, products and best practices. Managers need to identify and fix the weakest link in their chain. They also need to start seeing the strongest link - a company's innovation strength - as a weakness, because a strength in one part of the chain creates problems in the other parts.
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This article argues against the tendency of managers to import the latest and best management advice on how to improve innovation in large companies. Following a particular advice on innovation can be wasteful or even harmful. Instead managers need to take a step back and analyse their own innovation value chain to identify their specific problems. Different companies have different innovation problems; importing a new and hot innovation concept may not address those problems but instead make matters worse. Drawing on multiple research studies, the authors offer a new framework - the innovation value chain - that helps managers spot their weakest and strongest links in a chain spanning idea generation, conversion, and diffusion of new business, products and best practices. Managers need to identify and fix the weakest link in their chain. They also need to start seeing the strongest link - a company's innovation strength - as a weakness, because a strength in one part of the chain creates problems in the other parts.

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