Creating Wealth from Knowledge
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Creating Wealth from Knowledge

Meeting the Innovation Challenge

Edited by John Bessant and Tim Venables

This book illustrates that, although innovation has always mattered in economic development, simply increasing expenditure in creating knowledge may not be the answer: we need to look at the whole system through which such knowledge translates to value creation.
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Chapter 10: Accelerating Diffusion Amongst Slow Adopters

Richard Adams and John Bessant


10. Accelerating diffusion among slow adopters Richard Adams and John Bessant INTRODUCTION While a systematic approach to product innovation has long been recognized as critical for firms’ continued growth, even survival, many UK organizations overlook or choose not to pursue the opportunities offered from also innovating in their business processes. Emerging from fields of research and practice in recent years are sets of innovative practices that have been demonstrated to deliver benefits to those adopting organizations that deeply embed them. Included among these are world class manufacturing (WCM) techniques (Schonberger 1986), which have a track record of demonstrable success. Through their effective adoption and implementation, WCM techniques offer the promise of significant performance improvements, particularly in terms of exploitative innovation and efficiency gains (Stoneman and Kwon 1996; Benner and Tushman 2003; Montes and Jover 2004). However, in spite of this promise, the adoption of WCM techniques has been slower than might be expected. This apparent failure, or reluctance, to adopt and embed has been cited as one reason for the UK’s performance gap relative to important international competitors (Porter and Ketels 2003). Beginning in the 1990s, a series of studies looking to firm-level discrepancies for answers to international variations in productivity performance has consistently found UK firms to be slower at adopting process and practice innovations than their international counterparts (see, inter alia, Hanson and Voss 1995; Voss 1995; Waterson et al. 1999; Rigby 2001; Clegg et al. 2002; Lucking 2004; Wood et...

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