Handbook of Research on New Product Development
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Handbook of Research on New Product Development

Edited by Peter N. Golder and Debanjan Mitra

New products are the major driver of revenue growth in today's dynamic business environment. In this Handbook, the world's foremost experts on new product development bring together the latest thinking on this vitally important topic. These thought-leading authors organize knowledge into useful and insightful frameworks covering all aspects of new product development: companies, collaborators, customers, context, markets, and performance. Managers will benefit from the handbook by expanding their knowledge of new product development and researchers will learn about opportunities to continue expanding on this body of knowledge.
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Chapter 6: Institutionalizing an innovation function: moving beyond the champion

Gina Colarelli O’Connor


While corporate entrepreneurship sometimes succeeds in companies due to cultural and leadership factors, most firms struggle in their attempts to create new businesses for strategic renewal. In this chapter, observations are offered from an 11-year research program on managing breakthrough innovation in large established firms. The results indicate that expertise development in breakthrough innovation, and, by implication, several specific categories of corporate entrepreneurship, is in its infancy and some of the management practices that plague these attempts are described. Among these are: (a) a lack of distinction between current strategy and strategic intent, which influences evaluation criteria used to judge project progress and success; (b) the failure of project managers to address the full complement of technical, market, resource, and organizational uncertainties they face; (c) the failure of breakthrough innovation program leaders to operate with a portfolio mentality; (d) undertaking breakthrough innovation projects without regard to the complete set of management system elements that support the high uncertainty context that plague them; and (e) high rates of turnover among personnel, which prevent the learning required to develop sophisticated expertise. Propositions are offered for management practices that may help develop a dynamic capability for breakthrough innovation as a form of corporate entrepreneurship.

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