Dissertation:The interplay of innovation activities and strategy invigorates companies
The doctoral thesis of Seppo Laukkanen examines four purposely-selected innovations, which Nokia commercialized in 2008. By diving into the cases Laukkanen analyzes how the innovations were created and how the activities renewed the company strategy. Drawing from the cases Laukkanen creates an integrated model, which illuminates how innovation activities fuse novelty with the existing knowledge of a company and how the realized strategy of the firm gets renewed through the innovation activities.
The study identifies three distinctive innovation process patterns: The 'linear' pattern produces incremental innovations and sustains the strategy. The 'transforming' pattern creates radical innovations and molds the strategy. The 'experimenting' pattern creates profoundly new businesses and specific strategies for them.
Laukkanen's study shows that, in order to create radical departures from the company tradition, the innovation activities must have a mandate to shape the strategy formulations and working practices of the organization. Innovation activities embedded to the existing business of the company modify strategy and working practices through processes that happen simultaneously with the innovation process. When developing new businesses, the amendments to strategy and working practices are often discovered in retrospect by making sense of the improvised experiments on the market.
Laukkanen uncovers the instrumental role of management action in establishing the reciprocal interplay of activities, strategy and working practice development: Collaboration and hands-on participation of managers fosters the interplay. Similarly, strategy articulations that leave room for interpretations inspire the creation of radical innovations. Moreover, iterative and adaptive working practices allow reflection and latitude necessary to create radical innovations. The senior management's commitment to the renewal of the company was found critical to the ability to follow through new business initiatives on the market. The commitment is best developed through senior management's involvement in the innovation activities.
Date: Wednesday, 30th of May, at noon
Venue: Hanken School of Economics
Opponent: Professor Yves Doz, INSEAD
Examiners: Professor Yves Doz and Professor Robert Burgelman, Stanford
Custos: Martin Lindell, Hanken School of Economics