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Corporate Innovation Management: Organizational Challenges

Posted on Friday, May 27th 2016


Continuing with our discussion on corporate innovation methodology, in this piece, I want to highlight a couple of key organizational challenges: (1) How do ideas flow into execution, (2) Where are the push backs?

Let me call out another specific point from my previous article, Corporate Innovation Management – A Methodology Discussion, that addresses the first issue.

In my interview with Jim Euchner for the Research-Technology Management journal, I said:

JE: Are these same people, if it’s a go, charged with trying to make it work?

SM: We’re seeing multiple permutations and combinations on that. Sometimes the company gives the originators the project lead and lets them run with it. Sometimes the ideas get plugged into a product group that already has that kind of activity going on, and then it’s a side project in that product group, with additional resources. Sometimes—and this is a lot more rare—the business can be spun out and set up as a separate company. It really depends on the project, depends on the market size, depends on the investment required, depends on the resources required. But all of those permutations are success stories, as far as the program is concerned.

The second issue – push backs – comes, often, from middle management where managers responsible for delivering projects on tight deadlines mind the distraction of their team members going off on a tangent.

Managers having to run more mundane projects may find one of their team members much more excited about the innovation agenda than his day job.

I know of at least one major and cutting edge technology company that I prefer not to name where the middle managers effectively shut down the entire corporate incubation initiative.


Photo credit:  Keoni Cabral/


This segment is a part in the series : Corporate Innovation Management

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