Those who follow this blog, my academic activity or my messages in other social media accounts will probably be aware of my interest on organizational innovation. It is already three years that I decided to focus my PhD dissertation on this topic and, far away from getting bored with it, I confess that the more I work on it, the more relevant and challenging it gets. Moreover, it is encouraging to realize that organizational innovation is not only an increasingly relevant issue for my academic fulfillment, but also for the competitiveness of our territory and its organizations.
In June 2012 I perceived the first hints of the interest and attention this issue is arising when I presented my first academic paper at XXIII ISPIM Conference in Barcelona (more about it here). Three months later, I saw it clear when European Commission invited me to debate in an Inno Grips workshop on a new report that they were promoting bout “Organisational and marketing innovation in a competitive context: opportunities and barriers to growth” (final report just published here). The message they are trying to spread all over Europe is also clean and clear: it is time to open our competitiveness policies to non-technological innovation; promoting product and process innovation is not enough, we also need to develop organizational and marketing innovation to reach sustainable competitiveness.
But why is organizational innovation so relevant? Because it is considered an important source of competitive advantage of firms, it helps knowledge development in companies and it enables other forms of innovation (Damanpour et al., 1989; Greenan, 2003; Armbruster et al., 2006; Som et al., 2012). Actually, there is nothing new in what we are saying and Schumpeter already defended it over 50 years ago (as I have explained before here). But why is it NOW increasingly relevant? What is more, what do we mean with “organizational innovation” when we bring this concept back to research and policy agendas? These are for me the key questions to answer before turning this issue into a new “fashionable-concept” with no meaning nor value.
Focused on this interest, I have advanced on my own research setting its preliminary results down in black and white and compiling them in a new paper called “Understanding organizational innovation from its practice”. Last 21st February I had the pleasure to present it at “Organizational Innovation” workshop organized by Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. Sharing research interests, opinions, ideas and feedbacks with people like Michael Mol, José Luis Hervas-Oliver (great host!), Carlos Martín Ríos, Fabrice Galia, Carlos Devece, Francesca Sempere Ripoll and many other researchers whose name I could not memorize was a great learning experience for me. I understood that my Grounded Theory approach to the topic is considered valuable to deepen into organizational innovation knowledge, and that the case I am studying shows big potential to be exploded, but I still need to develop further the first results. That it why it’s work-in-progress yet!
Now I will be glad to continue with this sharing and learning experience at this blog, so I have uploaded the abstract (below) and the slideshow (here) of my presentation in Valencia and I invite you to ask, comment and discuss on it.
Organizational innovation is currently studied an important source of competitive advantage both for firms and for territories. This relevance is related to the widening of the innovation concept, which is not anymore limited to technology. However, organizational innovation concept is still considered ambiguous and even Oslo Manual recognizes that its referential definition is still exploratory. Besides, innovation processes are no longer understood as lineal and predictive but complex and variable, so the analysis of organizational innovation becomes methodologically challenging. Consequently, new studies and adapted methods are required to acquire deeper knowledge about organizational innovation practice and its consequences for competitiveness.
This research is precisely intended to reach thorough understanding about how an organizational innovation process is developed and interpreted in practice; and to generate new theoretical insights about it for further future research.
Grounded theory is proposed as a suitable methodology for this inductive, longitudinal, field-based case study research. Preliminary results have helped reaching new theoretical insights about the suitability of Oslo Manual’s definition with practice and about the application of innovation generation and adoption process perspective to the study of organizational innovation. Work is still in-progress to consolidate first results, to guarantee their confirmability and to facilitate their transfer.