GE539 Innovation Process and Operational Rigor

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Case Studies for Innovation Process Curriculum

We have covered five case studies on best practices in existing curriculum on innovation processes. We have covered case studies from River University, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Advanced Management Science, Microsoft’s Innovation Management Framework, and Journal of Engineering and Technology Management.

We will now briefly describe each of the case studies.

River University

This paper from River University has divided the innovation process into 5 stages.
i) The first stage includes giving innovation time to the employees’ i.e. 15% of the workday to explore ideas.
ii) The second stage includes the screening of ideas, as ideas need to be evaluated to gauge its potential and problems with it.
iii) The third stage includes pilot testing of the ideas i.e. experimentation.
iv) The fourth stage is called commercialization which aims to make the idea profitable for the company.
v) The fifth and the last stage is called diffusion and implementation where the idea diffuses across the company and is implemented.

Journal of Advanced Management Science

This research paper from the Journal of Advanced Management Science mentions relevant open innovation practices. These practices are discussed under the multidimensional framework of organizational innovation. To identify open innovation practices, case studies were retrieved from the databases of Harvard Business for Educators, ISI Web of Knowledge, Proquest, Wiley Online Library and Ebsco Host.

Then these open practices were identified under three main dimensions: Leadership, Managerial Levers, and Business Process.

The Leadership dimension is segmented into four practices which broadly covers the role and importance of innovation manager.

The Managerial Levers was further segmented into five dimensions which are:
i) Mission, goals, and strategy
ii) Structures and systems
iii) Organization learning and knowledge management
iv) Resource allocation
v) Organizational culture.

The Business Process was further segmented into four dimensions which are:
i) Initiation and decision-making
ii) Portfolio management
iii) Project management
iv) Commercialization.

The paper also emphasizes the commitment, support, and clarity of top leadership. It also extends the paradigm of open innovation in the public sector, where the contribution of citizens in solving social problems is encouraged.

Harvard Business Review

This article from Harvard Business Review magazine gives the example of various companies and what innovative strategies they have applied. It further dives into the type of innovation that will allow the companies to create and capture value.

It also incorporates the innovation landscape map which divides the innovation landscape map into four parts viz. Disruptive, Architectural, Routine, and Radical.

The article also talks about the process of developing innovation strategy and also includes examples where companies have failed in implementing the innovative strategy correctly.

Microsoft’s Innovation Management Framework

The paper titled “Best Practices for Innovation” discusses the concept of the Innovation Management Framework. This framework is developed in collaboration and contributions from industry thought leaders and experts from more than 15 organizations. Hence, this case study has been included in our list.

The list of organizations which have contributed to this framework is given at Page 4 of the paper.

The article emphasizes the importance of single point of accountability for the higher innovation performance.

It then divides the process of innovation into five sub-processes which are:
i) Envision, which discusses innovation strategy.
ii) Engage, which discusses idea generation.
iii) Evolve, which discusses filtration of ideas and including the feedback mechanism.
iv) Evaluate, which discusses shortlisting ideas from the filtered ideas.
v) Execute, which discusses the process to develop the idea into a business.

The case study of the Ericsson Company is also discussed in the paper. The paper then delves into specifics of innovation strategy at Microsoft.

Journal of Engineering and Technology Management

This research paper titled "Rethinking the innovation process in large organizations: a case study of 3M" is from Journal of Engineering and Technology Management. Although the paper is from the year 2000, we have kept it in our list because it discusses innovation process in the large corporations.
The research paper begins by defining concepts of technology and innovation. It then discusses Schumpeter’s theory which describes how the innovations are becoming dependent on purposeful and systematic R & D efforts. It breaks the myth of glorification of individual inventors in the current times.

The paper also discusses the Linear Model of Innovation and Interactive Model of Innovation.

Then it discusses the innovation process at 3M, a company with 60000 products, and the only company which has a ratio of nearly one product per employee.

It then discusses a typical model of innovation in a large company, and the model of innovation at 3M. It then suggests a new model, namely, the Circular Model of Innovation and concludes with the applications of the Circular Model of Innovation.


We have discussed five case studies on best practices in the innovation process. The best practices have been taken from academia as well as corporations. The summary of each and relevant links have been updated.