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Effective communication in innovation processes



Innovation processes are rarely smooth and disruptions often occur at transition points were one knowledge domain passes the technology on to another domain. At these transition points communication is a key component in assisting the smooth hand over of technologies. However for smooth transitions to occur we argue that appropriate structures have to be in place and boundary spanning activities need to be facilitated. This paper presents three case studies of innovation processes and the findings support the view that structures and boundary spanning are essential for smooth transitions.
Ronald C Beckett
Centre for Industry and Innovation Studies
University of Western Sydney
Tel +61 412 264 574
Paul Hyland*
School of Management
Queensland University of Technology
Tel + 61 731382938
*Corresponding Author
Innovation processes are rarely smooth and disruptions often occur at transition
points were one knowledge domain passes the technology on to another domain.
At these transition points communication is a key component in assisting the
smooth hand over of technologies. However for smooth transitions to occur we
argue that appropriate structures have to be in place and boundary spanning
activities need to be facilitated. This paper presents three case studies of
innovation processes and the findings support the view that structures and
boundary spanning are essential for smooth transitions.
Keywords: Transitions, boundary spanning, communication
It has been argued that innovation is a process that can be managed and there are
characteristic evolutionary stages that can be identified (Rothwell, 1992). Empirical data
suggests there are issues in making the transition between stages. Beckett and Hyland, (2007)
maintain that both the external and internal environments influence how the stages in the
evolution of an innovation and how transitions between the stages are enacted. Geels and
Schot (2007) articulated four transition pathways that depended on whether internal or
external resources dominated. They also observed that multiple types of agency are involved
in most transitions. The involvement of multiple agents creates added complexity at the
transition points as there is rarely a shared view of the interaction and there are inevitable
differences in language and understanding as engineers interact with research scientists and
researchers interact with management and marketing. This potential problem of
misunderstandings can compromise the successful navigation of a transition and the
progression of a particular innovation. Our long-term research objective is to find ways to
more effectively manage transitions in the innovation process.
The interplay of agency and structure (language in our case) is noted in structuration theory
(Giddens, 1984), where rules (methodologies and social norms) appear to exist
independently, but they are only applied only through use and reproduction in practice.
Agents are embedded in social and operational rule structures, but at the same time reproduce
them through their actions (‘duality of structure’). At transition points agents also bring some
knowledge and some unstated rules with them in the repertoire of schemas that they use to
interpret the world, make sense of it and make decisions. Poole and DeSanctis (1990)
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suggested a variant of Giddens (1984) ideas they called the theory of Adaptive Structuration
to apply those ideas in socio-technical organization settings based upon three functional
elements; structuration, appropriation and adoption. Appropriation is defined by Poole and
DeSanctis (1990:16) as, the “…fashion in which a group uses, adapts and reproduces
structure.” Adoption is the deep embedding of the structure into the organisation’s process
framework. Giddens (1984) identified different types of structure. One type is structures of
signification that help produce meaning through interpretive schemas, communication and
effective translation of overlapping language. Gidden’s other two structure types are
legitimisation (sanctioning practice and behaviour) and domination (heirarchy and power).
We explore matters of signification in this paper, along with associated matters of agency,
recognising that they co-exist with structures of legitimisation and domination that may
influence their enactment. The research uses a case study approach to examine three cases
where language and understanding have been critical to the effective transfer of knowledge in
the R&D process.
Agents and Structures of Signification in the Innovation Process
To understand how the communication and understanding of gaps can be addressed at
transition points several researchers have noted the existence of agents termed intermediaries
or boundary spanning agents. In a structuration theory context, these agents reproduce
structures of signification through their actions. According to Tushman and Scanlan (1981)
boundary spanning agents are individuals who are strongly linked internally and externally
and can both gather and transfer information from within and outside their work units.
Boundary spanning agents are viewed as communication stars (Tushman 1977) and can
effectively communicate widely within their work unit, across work units and outside their
organisation. Kellog et al. (2006) argue that boundary spanning agents are able to act as
translators, brokers or mediators. They also argue that cross boundary activities are enhanced
by establishing common knowledge or common ground and by using mechanisms such as
routines, languages, stories and models that have meaning across the boundaries.
Boundary spanning roles are especially important when environments change frequently and
linkages between complex social networks are needed. In situations such as product
development and business process re-engineering when teams form and disband, the
knowledge of the teams and the lessons they learned are lost as individuals move on to other
teams. However team members who have the necessary skills can act as boundary spanning
agents as they transfer knowledge and ideas between projects.
Howells (2006) views intermediaries as playing a role in diffusion and technology transfer, in
innovation management, as components of the systems and networks of innovation. Howells
(2006) recognised that not only individuals but also professional bodies can provide some
intermediary roles. Bessant and Rush (1995 p 102) noted a broadly similar set of functions
carried out by consultants: in the “articulation and selection of technology options: scanning
and locating new sources of knowledge; building linkages with knowledge providers,
development and implementation of business and innovation strategies highlight the more
interactive and diagnostic role of intermediaries”. Adler et al. (2003) maintain that boundary
spanners transfer information about changing market and conditions and boundary spanning
is linked to the management of technology, innovation, and implementation. If external
parties are to be effective intermediaries and span the boundaries between R&D and
implementation they need to understand the new technologies and have an effective grasp on
the underpinning science involved in the new technologies. Moreland(2008) in her work in
the beef industry in Australia found that technological innovations with high levels of
complexity presented a real challenge to some intermediaries who found the technology too
complex and confusing. In cases such as these intermediaries are ineffective as they are
unable to translate the new knowledge into meaningful language for the end-users.
Absorptive Capacity
While intermediaries or boundary spanning agents can increase the access of business to
knowledge and technologies, and translate complex knowledge into information that is
understandable to the end-user, they cannot ensure that the business has the absorptive
capacity necessary to benefit from the new information. Cohen and Levinthal (1994) argue
that acquiring technical knowledge through a third party is not sufficient. They maintain that
effective absorptive capacity needs to combine technical knowledge and operation knowledge
of “the firm’s idiosyncratic needs, organisational procedures, complementary capabilities and
extramural relationships” (Cohen and Levinthal 1994, 237). In the case of most small and
medium businesses the owner is the only person who is capable of acquiring and
understanding this knowledge as much of it is tacit and developed through experience.
Moreland (2008) in her research found that some business owners lacked competences
needed to combine new technical knowledge with operational knowledge. However
investing in the enhancement of absorptive capacity does not guarantee that it will benefit the
business. Perhaps this uncertainty leads many small business owners to focus more on short-
term, day to day problems than looking at how to improve their over all business (Moreland
2008). None the less Cohen and Levinthal (1994) argue that absorptive capacity improves a
firm’s ability to resolve uncertainty as firms with high levels of absorptive capacity employ
people better able to acquire knowledge and interpret information they need.
According to Cohen and Levinthal (1994) a firm can build its absorptive capacity in a range
of ways. These include by attending technical training and reading the technical literature,
both of these assume that people in the firm have the time and resource to invest in these
activities. In the case of SME the owners do invest in these activities but they are severely
restricted in how much time they have to build their technical knowledge across wide and
diverse fields. Cohen and Levinthal (1994) argue that in many cases absorptive capacity is
developed as a by-product of other activities such as in-house R&D. Further Cohen and
Levinthal (1994) maintain that Baldwin (1962) observed firms which had in-house research
capability were better able to exploit extramural research. Cohen and Levinthal (1994) argue
that to use the knowledge and technologies developed in the public domain a firm must have
acquired “complementary internal expertise” so that they have the necessary absorptive
capacity to exploit and benefit from new knowledge and technologies.
Acquiring and interpreting knowledge about technological innovations is a complex process.
Savory (2006) argues the capability to absorb and recombine knowledge facilitates the
development of new competences and these competences can be bundled together in different
ways to match different situations that arise during the innovation implementation process. In
bundling or grouping competences and reconfiguring existing competences with new
competences individuals need to be able to “actively select, acquire and abandon
competences.” (Savory, 2006). The ability to reconfigure, utilise and coordinate resources
such as knowledge and technologies in response to changes in the market, environment and
strategic direction of a business are regarded by Savory (2006) as dynamic capabilities.
Facilitating the Transfer of Knowledge and Responsibility at Transitions
In the discussion so far we have identified three matters of signification associated with
transition in the innovation process: firstly, the understanding the need for some form of
structured communication and learning, and what structures facilitate this; secondly, the kind
of information to be transmitted and what structures facilitate this, and thirdly, the need to be
able to receive and use what is transmitted, and what structures facilitate this. What actually
happens within enterprises?
In our empirical studies we have observed two kinds of transition management scenarios, and
some hybrids of these two. In both scenarios, we use the analogy of innovation as a relay
race, where there are a multiple handovers of responsibility and where a keen eye must be
kept on the competition and collaborators.
The first scenario is common in large companies that have specialised departments.
Responsibility for an innovation will move from research and development into engineering
and production, and then on to marketing and ongoing support functions. In this scenario it is
likely that each department will have the management and technical competencies and
structures to progress the innovation stage of development it is responsible for. It has been
observed that there is scope for misunderstandings about the technology of what is being
handed over and about the way each group optimises the product or process under
development. For example, an elegant scientific or engineering solution to a simple customer
problem may not work out well in terms of cost and ongoing ease of support. Such
observations and the need to run the “relay race” as fast as possible have led to the adoption
of concurrent engineering practices. Using this strategy, contributors are engaged before and
after their stage of responsibility is completed. This practice is intended to facilitate shared
understandings and optimised innovation outcomes. From a structuration theory viewpoint, a
series of appropriate structures have been adopted, but internal agents are used in a boundary-
spanning role when different structures are accessed. In the concurrent engineering scenario,
the next runner does not start from a standstill at each baton change, but runs in parallel for
some distance, and continues to run after the baton is exchanged.
One tool used to clarify roles, is the responsibility matrix. This is tabulation describes what
each department is expected to do at every stage of the evolution of a particular innovation. It
may also be used to assign individual responsibilities within a project team (PMBOK, 1996).
The second scenario is common in start-up companies, where a dedicated team is responsible
for all stages in the evolution of a particular innovation, which may be the sole activity of the
organisation. The organisation is also responsible for accessing and managing the resources
needed to develop and deploy the innovation. In this scenario, there is continuity in the
involvement of technical staff, but there is a need to progressively acquire more sophisticated
project management and business management competences. From a structuration theory
point of view, the focus is on acquiring appropriate structures and competences. By way of
example, Vohara et al (2004) studied the development of nine university spin-out companies,
identifying a number of factors that led to four “critical junctures” where new kinds of
competences and resources had to be added to the organisation as the innovation evolved.
Not recognising the need for a change put the enterprise at risk. Using our relay race analogy,
the baton had to be passed to a team having some previous and some new responsibilities. If
the baton is not successfully handed over, the enterprise may fail. A form of responsibility
matrix may also be useful in this scenario, but this practice is not common.
In the table 1, we have presented a generic responsibility matrix to facilitate communication
by understanding what is done by who in each phase of the evolution of an innovation. In the
technology stream, opportunities have to be turned into concepts, then products or processes
and then into a platform for further growth. In the management stream, opportunities have to
be turned into credible investment options, then into a market opportunity, then into an
ongoing source of delivered value for both the enterprise and its clients. Along the way,
opportunities to adapt the innovation may be identified. At the transition points, the language
needs to change from selling a vision (1 to 2), to selling a concept (2 to 3), to selling a
product (3 to 4). There will be both technological and management actors involved, with
communication required between them. This highlights the complexity of communications
required in the exploration and exploitation of an innovation.
Functional Responsibility
Technological Managerial
1. Identification Scanning the technology
environment, imagining possibilities
for emergent technologies
Scanning the market environment,
imagining possibilities in emergent client
needs and markets, “picking winners”
2. Exploration Researching and experimenting with
ideas, developing concepts, “picking
Finding resources for experimentation
and establishing appropriate project
management arrangements, developing
business models
Turning ideas into a product or
process that can be reliably delivered
using minimal resources, “picking
Finding resources for implementation
and establishing appropriate project
management arrangements, identifying
market pathways, meeting cost and
schedule targets, “picking winners”
4. Value
Using an emergent innovation in
concert with current capabilities to
build an enhanced enterprise
technology platform
Moving from a lead user to a mass user
market, establishing product
management and support arrangements
and accessing extended markets and
supply chains
Table 1: The communication matrix
We have identified the need to communicate across a number of boundaries, and wish to
collect some empirical evidence related to practice and issues. Qualitative research was
conducted as non-contrived comparative studies where the units of analysis were
organisations. The study was cross-sectional and data was gathered from four case studies.
The case studies, based on Yin’s (1994) methodology, were conducted in private and
government organisations that had been involved in the research and development of
technological innovations. Within the case studies, semi-structured interviews were used as
the primary information gathering tool with documentation and direct observation providing
additional information. This design was chosen so as to use the interviews to provide
exploratory and descriptive data within the case studies and give both breadth and depth to
the data gathering. The sample of cases is a purposive as the three organisations used in this
study were selected based on organisational attributes. Only one attribute was a mandated
selection criteria. Organisations are all involved in the development of technological
Case A. Is an agricultural research and development organisation funded by industry and
government. It has been operating for more than 15 years and has successfully developed
several technologies for application by the beef industry. The organisation has a wide range
of research and industry partners and is highly regarded for its genetic research.
Case B. Is an association of industry R&D managers focused on sharing best practice. The
industry association stages two conference/workshops each year, one in February to discuss
themes of interest to members, and one in August, held in Canberra to engage with the
Commonwealth Government. It maintains links with similar organisations in Europe and the
Case C. Is an Australian mining company that generally undertakes significant levels of
research into operational process optimisation. The particular case described here involves
the development of a product, which is undertaken less frequently by the organisation. An
independent product development team was established at a university with both university
and company participants.
The data collected from semi-structured interviews, participation in some activities of the
organisations and organisational documentation was synthesised into case write-ups. A text
based analysis was performed on the data which applied an interpretive research protocol.
Analysis, three individual case study narratives were produced. A cross case analysis, using
Eisenhardt’s (1989) method, was performed in order to build theory and address the research
Case A “Poor Adopters”
Case A conducts research on DNA markers which are specific sequences of DNA that
identify particular genes in an organism. In the beef industry, the commercialised markers
show how many favourable copies of the gene an animal has for a particular production trait.
For example, cattle have a number of genes that influence tenderness. One such gene is the
Calpain gene. If the animal has two copies of the favourable form of this gene it has the
genetic potential to produce more tender beef than an animal with one positive and one
negative form of the gene. In turn, an animal with 1 copy of the positive form of the gene
will have a better chance of producing tender beef than an animal with 0 copies of the
favourable form of the gene.
The first DNA marker test was commercialised by an Australian company in 2000
(Hocquette et al. 2007) allowing cattle producers to identify animals with the favourable
genes by having hair, semen, blood or tissue samples tested. The results of the DNA marker
analysis are sent to the producers in a report where the animal is ranked as 0, 1 or 2 stars for
each gene (0 being no favourable forms of the gene and so on). The breeder then is able to
select or mate cattle with a known genetic profile for that gene. The benefit of this over other
selection methods is that it is a diagnostic tool, meaning that the specified DNA sequence is
present or it is not and this does not change over the lifetime of the animal. This means that
the animal can be tested at an early age and its future can determined prior to breeding,
feeding or selling.
However DNA markers are complicated and hard to understand. In a study by Moreland
(2009) she found that intermediaries found the technology confusing. Similarly the process of
collecting samples and receiving results is relatively easy, but the interpretation of results is
complex and difficult. Moreland (2009) also found that technologies were not always
compatible with existing processes in businesses. So although the underlying science is
reliable the technology has relatively low innovation fit. While in trials there has been proof
of concept there are problems integrating the technologies into business operations,
particularly large scale operations. Some of the integration problems are a result of poor
knowledge transfer and poor understanding of the processes involved in operating large scale
breeding enterprises.
Case B: “Picking Winners”
In February 2009, a group of about 80 Australian corporate R&D managers met at an annual
workshop/conference to share their experience in “picking winners”. There were a number of
presentations over two days of the conference, some related to people factors, and some
related to matters of process. There were presenters from both large and small firms, and
from private industry and government sectors. There was some discussion at the end of each
presentation, and in the final afternoon of the conference, there were the focus group
activities to reflect on what had been learned. A document capturing this information was
produced a few weeks after the conference drawing on notes from various sources, and the
original presentations.
It was clear that the expression, “picking winners” was very context-sensitive. One context
for many of the participants related to identifying technologies that would enhance their
enterprise’s technology platform. For others, it was identifying which ideas for product
innovation identified by the enterprise sales force should proceed to a development stage.
For yet others it was identifying which newly developed products or processes should be
given priority in the marketplace. Presenters from the investment community saw picking
winners in terms of the probability of high rate of growth in the marketplace. Some
presenters described a portfolio management approach that kept a number of options open
during an exploratory phase.
A number of things emerged. Firstly, having the right people to understand what was being
considered and what progressing a particular innovation might lead to was seen as important.
Secondly, having a process that considered a multiplicity of factors was important in
conducting due diligence and information analysis that would support decision-making.
Thirdly, clearly understanding the assessment criteria was important. For example, did the
opportunity under review support some long term strategic agenda, in which case matters like
relating to a current market might be a secondary consideration. Fourthly, having the right
resources and capabilities to support an innovation during its development was just as
important as selecting the best option to proceed with. Finally, it was noted that picking
winners was a process, not a one-time event, and this process may have to be repeated at
several stages during the development of a particular innovation.
At an earlier conference with the government representatives, it was claimed that
governments do not “pick winners”. This is in the context of allowing market forces to
determine which options will be viable, and in the context of not favoring a particular
enterprise. It was noted during the February conference, however, that governments do
indeed pick winners. They nominate priority areas where research will be supported, and in
offering competitive access to government support, some selections from a variety of
proposals have to be made. Some speakers at the February conference suggested that the role
of government was to “make winners” by investing in education and infrastructure. This also
struck a chord with some smaller firms present at the conference, who did not have the luxury
of maintaining a portfolio of opportunities, but who had to make decisions about alternative
pathways to make their particular innovation viable.
The point that is reinforced in this case study is that both the language and expectations
associated with transition points in the development of a particular innovation are important
in reaching common understandings of the best way to move forward.
Case C: “Proof of Concept”
In the early 2000’s an Australian mining company decided to support the development of an
aerial survey instrument based on about 10 years of research at an Australian university. The
instrument is potentially capable of rapidly collecting information about the earth
characteristics of a large region with a degree of precision many times better than that of
current instruments. The researchers had developed a prototype to demonstrate what they
called “proof of concept” in that the soundness of the underlying theory was demonstrated.
On this is the basis, engineering development of the instrument was funded. Some
difficulties were experienced, in part due to the need to combine a number of emergent
technologies in the design to achieve the desired outcome, and in part due to the initial
adoption of inappropriate project management structures. Some components of the design
were quite unique and difficult to make, and by the end of the engineering development
phase, several patents have been lodged in addition to the original one. An iterative approach
to project management was the norm. At this point, it was again declared that “proof of
concept” had been demonstrated, in that it had been shown that a suitable instrument could be
This did not necessarily impress the geologists who wanted to utilize data collected using the
instrument. To them, what had been provided at this point was the equivalent of a medical
CAT scan instrument without any imaging software. In their view, “proof of concept” would
occur once the instrument had collected data from a region with well-understood earth
properties, and this data was presented in a form of map that could be interpreted in
geological terms.
Some similar observations were made during discussions in case B presented here (“picking
winners”). A government research organisation described a strategy of developing prototypes
and pilot plants, so that “proof of concept” could be clearly demonstrated. However,
licensees were frequently disappointed in the extent of development reached compared with
their interpretation of what “proof of concept” implied. The expression, “proof of concept”
was also used by an industry presenter to mean that a product or process had been developed
to the point where it was ready for trial in the marketplace. The expectation was that once
“proof of concept” had been demonstrated, the innovation could be readily adopted.
As in the “picking winners” case, there are matters related to the context of language in
sense-making and to expectations associated with particular words or phrases. Again,
implied meanings also relate to stages in the process of innovating. This case example also
raises the matter of different mental models used by different professional communities. For
the researchers, once the theoretical foundation has been established, further development
work was not seen as problematic or risky, just plain hard work. For the engineers once
something had been produced reliably, further development and application was not seen as
problematic or risky, just plain hard work. For the users, an innovation is not regarded as
adequately demonstrated until it has been shown through some period of use that it delivers
an outcome or solves a problem in a superior way to currently available alternatives. Even
then, there is still work to do to extract maximum value out of this innovation.
Discussion and Conclusion
The three cases presented collectively illustrate issues of communication and mutual
understanding at different transition points in the evolution of an innovation. The initial
findings indicate that in innovation processes where boundary spanning agents are active the
flow of knowledge and information is more effective than in those transitions where there are
no boundary spanning agents. The findings also indicate that a common language is
insufficient for effective communication. To ensure that communication at transitions is
effective there has to be agreed meaning associated with the language and the structures in
place to facilitate agreement.
In all cases, the presence of a diversity of agents - sponsors, people from various technical
communities, project managers, end users was observed. There is a need to “pass the baton”
within these families of agents in the innovation relay race from time to time. From this point
of view, Table 1 needs to be expanded to include technological sub-functions of researcher,
developer, tester and user. Management sub-functions of champion, project manager,
investor, marketer and user should be included. The task of identifying the generic role of
each specialisation at each stage is quite significant, and will be a topic for further research.
Case A highlights potential issues in the state of readiness to accept an innovation by the next
“runner”. Three structural matters arise: readiness for passing the baton, ability to accept, and
the process of handover. In another study (Beckett and O’Loughlin, 2008) we have raised
some different questions about the ability to accept. For example, are we setting up next-stage
management structures that are appropriate to the nature of the innovation (e.g. incremental
or radical). This is also a matter for separate investigation
The purpose of the boundary-spanning activity is to help people learn what is needed about
technological and management matters and to help access requisite assets for effective
initiation of the next stage. This is illustrated in case B, where picking winners was seen to be
a process, not an event, and part of the job was setting up the right team for the next stage. In
case C, a form of concurrent engineering was introduced to address boundary-spanning
issues, and quarterly reviews involved all stakeholders. An external consultant developed a
functional level systems engineering model of a total system that included an instrument
subsystem, a modified aircraft and its operation as part of a data collection subsystem and a
data processing subsystem. Sub-tier elements were also agreed. As all stakeholders were
involved, that process developed some shared understandings about the functional elements
of the system, and to some extent provided a common language.
Going back to Giddens (1984) structuration theory, structures of signification help produce
meaning through interpretive schemas, communication and effective translation of
overlapping language. This describes the requirements of boundary spanning agent quite
well. We suggest that in a concurrent engineering environment, the primary transition focus
is on technical schemas and language, but in the start-up business environment, the primary
focus is on business/market schemas and language. At the transition points in innovation,
processes knowledge is acquired, transferred and then in successful transition, integrated into
the next phase of the process. This study builds on the work of Cohen and Levinthal (1994)
that demonstrates the need to combine knowledge to ensure absorptive capacity is built up in
processes and organisations. As Kellog et al. (2006) argue boundary spanning agents are able
to act as translators, brokers or mediators but this can only occur when they are given access
to both sides of a transition point. It is people who act as barriers to transition and it is people
who often in attempting to preserve their knowledge and expertise that inhibit boundary
spanning activities.
This research demonstrates that the human element in innovation processes can both inhibit
and contribute to the flow of knowledge. While innovation operates with a process
framework, the flow of knowledge and understanding is controlled by and is dependent upon
human interactions. As management researchers we need to better understand the human
elements involved in innovation if we are to make a significant contribution to theory. While
the case organisations described here are drawn only from Australia the findings may be
applicable to wider audience. However further research is needed to validate the findings
presented here in the areas of multi-agent roles and selection of appropriate next-stage
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... It can be noticed that these processes are multifaceted, complex and distinguish themselves by peculiar specificity. The important aspects emphasized by various authors analyzing the processes of the innovation activity are the organization's strategic approach to the innovation activity (Zerfass, 2005), the need for effective knowledge management (Ode & Ayavoo, 2020;Ryan & Daly, 2019), the necessity of innovative leadership (Atkočiūnienė et al., 2019;Schork et al., 2016;Horth & Buchner, 2014;Baumgartner, 2014), the importance of organizational creativity (Brem et al., 2019;Beckett & Hyland, 2009;Cronquist et al., 2006), the significance of an innovative organizational culture (Winkler & Zerfass, 2016), a significant role of communication in the processes of innovation creation and implementation (Cina & Cummings, 2018;Linke & Zerfass, 2011;Beckett & Hyland, 2009;Zerfass & Huck, 2007). It should be noted that all these aspects are significant, but the question arises as to how all these important components of innovation activities should be enabled and how their interaction should be promoted to achieve effective continuous innovation activities of organizations. ...
... It can be noticed that these processes are multifaceted, complex and distinguish themselves by peculiar specificity. The important aspects emphasized by various authors analyzing the processes of the innovation activity are the organization's strategic approach to the innovation activity (Zerfass, 2005), the need for effective knowledge management (Ode & Ayavoo, 2020;Ryan & Daly, 2019), the necessity of innovative leadership (Atkočiūnienė et al., 2019;Schork et al., 2016;Horth & Buchner, 2014;Baumgartner, 2014), the importance of organizational creativity (Brem et al., 2019;Beckett & Hyland, 2009;Cronquist et al., 2006), the significance of an innovative organizational culture (Winkler & Zerfass, 2016), a significant role of communication in the processes of innovation creation and implementation (Cina & Cummings, 2018;Linke & Zerfass, 2011;Beckett & Hyland, 2009;Zerfass & Huck, 2007). It should be noted that all these aspects are significant, but the question arises as to how all these important components of innovation activities should be enabled and how their interaction should be promoted to achieve effective continuous innovation activities of organizations. ...
... It is stated that the need for innovation becomes particularly pronounced during the periods of economic downturn, as the ability to introduce novelties is a key driver promoting economic growth and social welfare (Huck 2006). Innovation is a source of competitive advantage for any organization (Ackermann, 2013;Vlok, 2012;Strazdas, 2011;Beckett & Hyland, 2009;Huck, 2006;Cronquist et al., 2006), the basis for long-term economic growth (Vlok, 2012;Huck, 2006), and the engine of profitability and development (Ackermann, 2013;Strazdas, 2011;Zerfass, 2005). ...
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The topic of innovation is extremely important because it relates to the ability of organizations, urban regions and even states to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing world. The problem for modern organizations is how to increase the scale and efficiency of innovation in modern organizations. One of the most striking modern trends that helps to generate innovation is the involvement of the organization’s stakeholders in the processes of value co-creation, encouraging their processes of collective cooperation, knowledge sharing and creative expression. Changing value creation processes are becoming a critical factor in creating innovation. Value creation has always been an essential foundation of any organization’s activities, but the targeted involvement of stakeholders in value creation is a relatively new phenomenon. The article presents a study, the aim of which is to investigate how and in what forms creative organizations – publishing houses – use the adaptability of their managed communication channels to encourage stakeholder involvement in value co-creation processes in innovation. Stakeholder involvement in the development of new ideas and projects, networking, collaboration, knowledge sharing, various non-formal learning opportunities, creation of discussion and feedback platforms as important drivers of stakeholder engagement are particularly important in fostering value-added processes in innovation.
... Strategic communication concentrates on the core drivers of organizational success, and innovation is an integral part of strategic communication (Zerfass and Huck, 2007). As observed by Beckett and Hyland (2011), the human element in innovation processes can both inhibit and contribute to the flow of knowledge. While innovation operates with a process framework, the flow of knowledge and understanding is controlled by and dependent upon human interactions. ...
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Development is a process that results in growth, advancement, positive change, or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social, and demographic components to instigate growth and improve people’s quality of life. Development is, therefore, seen as an approach that assures that all people have a good quality of life in terms of enjoyment, harmony, and the fulfillment of basic requirements. It is concerned with people's advancement, progress, and aspirations. It is known that change is unavoidable. It is an act or process through which something becomes different from what it is or would be if left alone (Oredein, 2016). Change and development are inextricably linked. The change focuses on transitioning from the existing state to a better future state, whereas development focuses on facilitating one specific area of change. This discussion is based on the development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
... Huck-Sandhu és Hassenstein (2013) vállalati eseteken keresztül mutatja be a meghatározó tényezőket és a perspektívákat. Empirikus kutatások arra a következtetésre jutnak, hogy bár az innováció többlépcsős folyamat, amely strukturális, folyamatszempontból is vizsgálható, a megértést és a tudás áramlását az emberi interakciók biztosítják (Beckett & Hyland, 2009). ...
Jelen tanulmány témája a vállalati kommunikációmenedzsment, mint diszciplína kialakulása, elméletei, globális és lokális jellegzetességei, szerepe és trendjei a kutatások tükrében. Noha a vállalati kommunikációmenedzsment mára a menedzsmenttudományok egyik legdinamikusabban fejlődő területévé vált, önálló tudományterületként megjelenését tudományos nézetek ütközése övezte. A vállalatvezetésben ugyan nyilvánvaló volt, hogy e menedzsmenttevékenység kiemelten fontos az eredményességhez, azonban a vállalati kapcsolatok, a PR és a kommunikációmenedzsment egymáshoz való viszonyában értelmezési eltérések alakultak ki. Ennek következtében különböző fókuszok rajzolódtak ki a kutatásokban. A tanulmány készítésének módszere a nemzetközi és hazai szakirodalom rendező és értelmező áttekintése. A szerzők bemutatják a kommunikációmenedzsment fogalom megjelenését, értelmezését és a diszciplína kialakulását. Ezt követően ismertetik az eltérő kutatási súlypontokat az angol nyelvterületeken, egyes európai országok kutatásaiban és a hazai megközelítésekben. Kiemelik a vállalati kommunikációmenedzsmentnek a vállalati értékteremtésben betöltött szerepét, a mérhetőséget, az infokommunikációs technológia hatását és egyes specifikus feladatokat, valamint a vállalati kommunikációmenedzsment gyakorlati jelentőségét. A trendeket vizsgálva felrajzolják a jövő várható útjait. ----- The topic of this review is the emergence of corporate communication management as a discipline, its theories, global and local characteristics, and its roles and trends in the light of research articles. Although today corporate communication management has become one of the most dynamically evolving fields of management, the first decades of the discipline were characterised by coexisting conflicting scientific theories. For the corporate management it was beyond doubt that corporate communication was elemental in the performance of the enterprises, however corporate PR, corporate relations and communication management had contradicting interpretations. These contributed to the appearance of distinct foci of international research. This review summarises international and Hungarian concepts. The authors demonstrate the emergence of the term of communication management, its interpretations and the development of the discipline. Next they present various foci of research in the UK and USA, in certain European countries and Hungary: the role of corporate communication management in value creation, its measurement, effects of info communication technology on it and some special areas. They overview the analyses of the trends and the projections for the near future: internationalisation, the effects of globalisation, mass media, digital media, social media; and the expected new challenges in corporate communication management.
... An enterprise architecture standard (GERAM, JIM 4, 3 (2016) 2000) represents such stages as: identification/concept, requirements, design, implementation, operation, decommissioning. Some innovative ideas may fail at transition points between stages, or there may be handovers to others to further progress the idea (Beckett and Hyland, 2011). Reflecting on the foregoing, we offer an extended representation of generic innovation life-cycle events in Table 2. Strategic timing -First mover advantage (e.g. ...
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An innovative idea launched in the wrong place at the wrong time may not deliver the outcomes hoped for. Based on 55 empirical studies, Bowen, Rostami and Steel (2010) suggest ‘timing is everything’ if innovation is to enhance organisational performance, but there is also a need to understand contextual factors. The paper presents a theoretical model representing the interaction of idea, place, resources and temporal factors that draws on the Ancient Greek notion of Kairos linking events in time and timely action. Longitudinal studies of four intermediary organisations intended to enhance SME innovation capabilities are compared at different stages in their evolution. The cases highlight the context-sensitive nature of innovation: an idea that has been successfully implemented in one place at one time may not be successful at another place or another time.
... They also observed that connections might change over time. Beckett and Hyland (2011) observed the need for interaction between different actors as an innovation moved from idea to implementation. They broadly categorized the actors as technologists or managers. ...
Conference Paper
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In a previous study we concluded three functional meta-level roles supported effective innovation outcomes – an idea champion, an investment champion who embraces innovation as a strategic tool, and an interaction champion that facilitates the process of innovating through orchestrating timely internal and external connections. In this paper we illustrate the nature of linkages between these three roles in projects within broader program settings using social network analysis. This leads to the conclusion that particular actors may have to be adaptable, playing roles that may vary between different innovation stages, that new actors might take over some roles and that some actors play multiple roles. We note that external third parties also have to be considered, and may enact a champion role at some stage. Some observations are also made about the use of social network analysis.
... Structuration theory (Giddens, 1984) has been used to help understand the interaction between actors and structure in an innovation context (Beckett and Hyland, 2011;Jones et al, 2000). In this theory, rules (methodologies) may appear to exist independently, but they are only applied only through use and reproduction in practice, where their persistence may be framed as 'culture'. ...
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The idea that every innovation needs a champion is generally accepted, but we found more than 20 roles described in the literature that could be identified with this concept. We propose that these can be clustered under three functional meta-level roles - A passionate idea champion, an investment champion who embraces innovation as a strategic tool, and an interaction champion that facilitates the process of innovating through timely internal and external connections. We draw on structuration theory to help frame these three roles. We observe that the nature of linkages between these three roles and third party expertise/resource providers is less researched .We represent linkages in a model, which is mapped against empirical data from four regional programs aimed at building innovation capacity in different ways. This leads to an extension of the model and the identification of multiple two-way interaction pathways
... Our second subsidiary objective is to identify tools and methods to increase the effectiveness of innovation management within individual organisations, considering potential failure points in the innovation process (e.g. Rothwell, 1994;Markham, 2002;Moore, 1999) requisite skills and competences (e.g Roberts, 1988) and the role of agents who can be used to facilitate the transition between stages (Bessant and Rush, 1995;Hyland and Beckett, 2009). ...
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Confronting environmental sustainability issues requires firms to both enhance traditional operational practices and introduce new, innovative ones. There are opportunities to enter emergent markets for products and services supporting the sustainability agenda. It is anticipated that these circumstances will more frequently involve innovative firms in collaborations with other organizations and stakeholders. In 2009 three Dutch, one Australian and one Swedish University conceived a project to work with about twenty industry partners to facilitate learning about collaborative environmental innovation practices that may be new to these partners. In this paper we consider a number of tools to be used in stimulating learning about such practices and embedding that learning in ongoing enterprise activities.
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A TANULMÁNY CÉLJA Az innováció-kommunikáció döntő jelentőségű a vállalati innovációk létrejöttének szempontjából. A kommunikáció az innovációnak és így a vállalati sikernek előmozdítója vagy – rosszul kezelve – akadálya is lehet. Tanulmányunk a vállalaton belüli innováció-kommunikációra fókuszál, és nem foglalkozik a diffúzió területével. Célunk, hogy a kommunikáció szerepét és lehetőségeit feltérképezve hozzájáruljunk a vállalati innovációt segítő belső kommunikációs környezet javításához és az ezt segítő módszerek megtalálásához. Szakirodalmi források elemzése alapján megfogalmazzuk azokat a következtetéseket, amelyek a gyakorlatba átültetve az innovatív gondolkodást, az innovációt előmozdító tényezőkké válnak. Az elméleti rendszerezés ösztönzés kíván lenni további innováció-kommunikáció kutatások folytatására. ALKALMAZOTT MÓDSZERTAN A szakirodalom alapján egyrészt modellt alkotunk az innováció-kommunikáció folyamatának rendszer-szemléletére, elhelyezzük a tudásmenedzsment, az innováció-menedzsment és a változásmenedzsment összefüggésében, valamint a tudáskommunikáció és változáskommunikáció egymásra hatásában. Kimutatjuk e három menedzsment-, illetve kommunikáció-terület szoros kapcsolatát. Másrészt összegyűjtjük, tényfeltáró vizsgálat alá vetjük, szintetizáljuk és rendszerbe foglaljuk a külföldön közel húsz éve folyó belső innováció-kommunikációt feltáró kutatásokat tükröző szakirodalmat, és ezek tartalmai alapján megfogalmazzuk következtetésünket. A vizsgálandó irodalomat a hazai és külföldi élen járó vezetéstudományi/menedzsment szakfolyóiratokra és a téma sokat idézett művelőinek monográfiáira szűkítettük, ugyanakkor kitértünk néhány olyan műre is, amely megítélésünk szerint értékes adalékokat tartalmaz, de a látószögből könnyebben kieső publikációkban kapott nyilvánosságot. LEGFONTOSABB EREDMÉNYEK A dolgozat többoldalúan, humán nézőpontból világítja meg az eddig Magyaroszágon csupán egyes részleteiben ismertetett menedzsment-területet. Kijelöli az innováció-kommunikáció helyét az innovációmenedzsmentben és elhelyezi a tudás-, valamint a változásmenedzsment folyamatában. Kiemeli az innovációt támogató szervezeti kultúra kommunikációs jellemzőit, és a gyakorlatban alkalmazható rendszerbe foglalja azokat. JAVASLAT A GYAKORLATI ALKALMAZÁSRA Javasoljuk, hogy amennyiben a gyakorlati szakemberek innováció-kultúra kialakítását tűzik ki célul, vegyék figyelembe a vállalati innováció-kommunikáció tervezésében a megfogalmazott következtetéseket és biztosítsák a gyakorlatban azokat a feltételeket az (intern) kommunikációban és a szervezeti kultúrában, amelyek támogatják a hasznos víziók, ötletek megvalósulását és zavartalan innovatív gondolkodás-légkört teremtenek. Köszönetnyilvánítás: A dolgozat az MTA GTB Kommunikációmenedzsment Munkabizottságának „Innováció-kommunikáció a vállalatoknál” című konferenciáján, 2020. március 6-án elhangzott, Borgulya Ágnes: „Innováció-kommunikáció a vállalatok gyakorlatában – elméleti nézőpontból“ előadás tanulmány-változata.
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Özet Yenilik, rekabetçi ortamlarda değişimin ve gelişmenin öncüsü, yarışta önlerde olabilmenin temel şartlarından birisidir. İşletme faaliyetlerinde tek düzeliği ve durağanlığı önlemek suretiyle yapıya dinamizm kazandıran faaliyetler bütünüdür. Ürün, süreç, organizasyon yapısı ve pazar koşullarının değiştirilmesini ve geliştirilmesini ifade eder. Bu çalışma, işletme iç çevre faktörlerinin sürekli yenilik faaliyetleri açısından önemini teorik olarak incelemektedir. Sürekli yenilik faaliyetleriyle sürekli yeni değer kümeleri oluşturmak ve bunlarla rakiplere karşı rekabet avantajı sağlamaya çalışmak gerekir. Temel yenilik belirleyicileri olarak çalışmada; entelektüel sermaye, organizasyon yapısı, kurum kültürü, yönetim desteği ve liderlik, iç girişimcilik ve iletişim faktörleri incelenmektedir. Abstract Innovation is the leading factor for change, improvement and competitive advantage. It is the branch of activities improving the dynamism of organization by preventing uniformity and stability. It refers to the change and improvement of product, process, organization and market conditions. This article addresses the importance of internal environmental factors for continuous innovation. Continuous innovation intends to establish new value sets and to gain competitive advantage with these values. In this article, intellectual capital, organizational structure, corporation culture, management support and leadership, intrapreneurship and communication factors are investigated for basic innovation determinants.
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This paper investigates how university spinout companies develop. The capabilities framework is used to investigate the development of nine different spinout companies. Each venture is found to move through a number of distinct phases and to come up against "generic" problems whilst attempting to move from one phase to another. We identify four critical junctures that spinout companies need to overcome to succeed. The entrepreneur or the entrepreneurial team need to possess key entrepreneurial capabilities to overcome these critical junctures.
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In our study of an interactive marketing organization, we examine how members of different communities perform boundary-spanning coordination work in conditions of high speed, uncertainty, and rapid change. We find that members engage in a number of cross-boundary coordination practices that make their work visible and legible to each other, and that enable ongoing revision and alignment. Drawing on the notion of a trading zone, we suggest that by engaging in these practices, members enact a coordination structure that affords cross-boundary coordination while facilitating adaptability, speed, and learning. We also find that these coordination practices do not eliminate jurisdictional conflicts, and often generate problematic consequences such as the privileging of speed over quality, suppression of difference, loss of comprehension, misinterpretation and ambiguity, rework, and temporal pressure. After discussing our empirical findings, we explore their implications for organizations attempting to operate in the uncertain and rapidly changing contexts of postbureaucratic work.
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This paper explores the issue of the types of skills required of leaders and followers in new organizational forms. It reviews the concept of virtual teams in organizations. The paper addresses the role of training in facilitating boundary spanning in organisations using case examples.
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The transition of an idea from invention to commercialization has been widely targeted as an area of relative weakness for Australian enterprises to confront. The more skilful and streamlined innovation process developed by repeat innovators, and the skilled balancing act between innovation and managing operational effectiveness that growth innovators take through to large innovative organisations, point to ways that waste could be reduced and innovation productivity improved. In an attempt to improve the success of the process from new idea generation to commercialisation, to reduce market failures, firms are continually seeking new sources of ideas and advice rather than focus on improving how they transition from exploring for new ideas to exploiting ideas in the marketplace. It is suggested that this shortcoming can be addressed by clearly identifying the capabilities SME need at transition points in the innovation process and providing an indication of how firms can access and apply these capabilities to specific contexts. This paper examines the capabilities needed at transitions points to build requisite absorptive capacity, identifies some matters of context and puts forward an innovation transition framework. What has to be learned and how it might be learned is discussed in an absorptive capacity context.
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This paper starts from the perspective that innovation is a multi-stage process that can be managed. There are some differences in the dominant thinking processes, knowledge domains and development processes appropriate at each stage, and our interest is in the successful navigation of transitions between stages. The paper presents a conceptual framework for considering different kinds of dynamics associated with such transitions, drawing on literature related to organisational change and on Adaptive Structuration Theory in particular. This theory considers the social system for getting things done in terms of elements of structure and agency that influence each other. The focus of this paper is the structural element. A number of suggestions for future research are presented.
Discusses the notion that the ability to exploit external knowledge is crucial to a firm's innovative capabilities. In addition, it is argued that the ability to evaluate and use outside knowledge is largely a function of the level of prior related knowledge--i.e., absorptive capacity. Prior research has shown that firms that conduct their own research and development (R&D) are better able to use information from external sources. Therefore, it is possible that the absorptive capacity of a firm is created as a byproduct of the firm's R&D investment. A simple model of firm R&D intensity is constructed in a broader context of what applied economists call the three classes of industry-level determinants of R&D intensity: demand, appropriability, and technological opportunity conditions. Several predictions are made, including the notions that absorptive capacity does have a direct effect on R&D spending and spillovers will provide a positive incentive to conduct R&D. All hypotheses are tested using cross-sectional survey data on technological opportunity and appropriability conditions--collected over the period 1975 to 1977 for 1,719 business units--in the American manufacturing sector from Levin et al. (1983, 1987) and the Federal Trade Commission's Line of Business Program data on business unit sales, transfers, and R&D expenditures. Results confirm that firms are sensitive to the characteristics of the learning environment in which they operate and that absorptive capacity does appear to be a part of a firm's decisions regarding resource allocation for innovative activity. Results also suggest that, although the analysis showing a positive effect of spillovers in two industry groups do not represent a direct test of the model, positive absorption incentive associated with spillovers may be sufficiently strong in some cases to more than offset the negative appropribility incentive. (SFL)
The research described in this article focuses on one important aspect of the innovation process - the need for the innovating system to gather information from and transmit information to several external information areas. Special boundary roles evolve in the organization's communication network to fulfill the essential function of linking the organization's internal network to external sources of information. These boundary roles occur at several organizational boundaries, and their distribution within the organization is contingent on the nature of the organization's work. This research supports literature on boundary spanning in general and highlights the importance of boundary roles in the process of innovation.