Advancing Empirical Research
Edited by Markus C. Becker and Nathalie Lazaric
Chapter 10: Innovation Routines: Exploring the Role of Procedures and Stable Behaviour Patterns in Innovation
10. Innovation routines: exploring the role of procedures and stable behaviour patterns in innovation Markus C. Becker and Francesco Zirpoli 1. INTRODUCTION The capability to innovate, that is, to develop successful new products or processes, is important and highly treasured. One of its hallmarks, judging from the literature, is that the capability to innovate ﬂuctuates considerably over the life time of a ﬁrm. Often, small ﬁrms are successful in developing new products particularly of the more radically innovative sort, while large ﬁrms seem to turn out new products that often represent mainly incremental innovations. Yet some companies have a track record of repeated radical innovation. Apple Computers is a famous example. In its long stream of successful new products, it counts the ﬁrst personal computer, and recently, the iPod. Another example, just down the road in Silicon Valley, is IDEO, the design ﬁrm. It has generated innovations such as, for instance, the computer mouse. Both ﬁrms have a reputation for repeatedly developing successful new products, including a series of radical innovations. Apple has managed to bounce back successfully from phases of moderate success, most recently with the introduction of the iPod. IDEO has turned out a great number of new products with such continuity that it has been termed an ‘innovation factory’ (Hargadon and Sutton, 1997, 2000). The question raised by such examples is how some companies are able to generate innovations repeatedly, even including several radical innovations. In looking for an explanation of innovation outcomes, we are turning towards...
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