Developing routines for managing discontinuous innovation

David Francis, John Bessant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Innovation can be seen as a problem of search, selection and propagation. It involves a process in which possible threats and opportunities for change are identified within the environment, followed by a set of choice activities which allocate resources to those innovation projects perceived to be of strategic importance. This places considerable emphasis on the approaches which firms take to defining their selection environments and then exploring these in systematic fashion. Nelson + Winter’s work on behavioural routines paved the way for extensive research on the topic and a number of common “success” strategies can be identified from this literature (Nelson and Winter 1982). For example the emergent picture of “good practice” would argue for close interaction with users and suppliers, (Herstatt and von Hippel 1992; Lamming 1993) links with elements within the local + national innovation systems, (Metcalfe and Miles 1999) intensive search behaviour through R and D, market research, etc. (Tidd, Bessant et al. 2001; Chesborough 2003; Burgelman, Christensen et al. 2004) Recent research has drawn attention to problems with this recipe under conditions of discontinuity. Christensen’s work on the innovator’s dilemma, for example, suggests that at certain times the close interaction with plays within the value network may act as a filter which blocks firms seeing the salience of new signals about emerging but very different potential technical or market trajectories (Christenson 1997).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEURAM 2005
Publication statusPublished - May 2005
EventEURAM 2005 - Munich, Germany
Duration: 1 May 2005 → …


ConferenceEURAM 2005
Period1/05/05 → …


  • Innovation
  • Change management


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