The 5 Myths of Innovation WINTER 2011 VOL.52 NO.2 REPRINT NUMBER 52210 By Julian Birkinshaw, Cyril Bouquet and J.-L. Barsoux Please note that gray areas reflect artwork that has been intentionally removed. The substantive content of the ar- ticle appears as originally published.
Myth # 2: Build It and They Will Come … The U.K.-based soc- cer club Ebbsfleet United was bought and run in 2007 by a Web community of 30,000. But by 2010 its paying membership had dwindled to just 800. SLOANREVIEW.MIT.EDU WINTER 2011 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW 43 I N N O VAT I O N HISTORICALLY, MOST MANAGERS equated innovation primarily with the development of new products and new technologies. But increasingly, innovation is seen as applying to the devel- opment of new service offerings, business models, pricing plans and routes to market, as well as new management practices. There is now a greater recognition that novel ideas can transform any part of the value chain — and that products and services represent just the tip of the innovation iceberg. 1 This shift of focus has implications for who “owns” innovation. It used to be the preserve of a select band of employees — be they designers, engineers or scientists — whose responsibility it was to generate and pursue new ideas, often in a separate location. But increasingly, innovation has come to be seen as the responsibility of the entire organization. For many large companies, in fact, the new imperative is to view innovation as an “all the time, everywhere” capability that harnesses the skills and imagination of employees at all levels. 2 Making innovation everyone’s job is intuitively appealing but very hard to achieve. Many compa- nies have put in place suggestions, schemes, ideation programs, venturing units and online forums. (See “A Glossary of Established Drivers of Innovation,” p. 45.) However, the success rate of such ap- The 5 Myths of Innovation Nowadays, goes the theory, innovation is supposed to be done constantly, by everyone in the company, improving everything the company is about — and new Web-based tools are here to help it happen. Is the theory right? Or do the experiences of companies reveal something different? BY JULIAN BIRKINSHAW, CYRIL BOUQUET AND J.-L. BARSOUX THE LEADING QUESTION What conven- tional wisdom about innova- tion no longer applies? FINDINGS Online forums are not a panacea for innovation. Innovation shouldn’t always be “open.” Internal and external experts should be used for very differ- ent problems. Innovation must be bottom-up and top-down — in an approach that’s balanced.
44 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW WINTER 2011 SLOANREVIEW.MIT.EDU I N N O VAT I O N proaches is mixed. Employees face capacity, time and motivation issues around their participation. There is often a lack of follow-through in well-intentioned schemes. And there is typically some level of discon- nect between the priorities of those at the top and the efforts of those lower down in the organization.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 11 pages?
- Fall '19
- MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Sloan Management Review