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Pushing the Elephant: How to make Innovation Happen in Big, Complex Organizations.

Trevarthen, Simon (2016) Pushing the Elephant: How to make Innovation Happen in Big, Complex Organizations. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Trevarthen, Simon
Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to examine why large, complex private and public organizations often fail to develop and implement innovation. This study identifies barriers that deter innovation in six areas: bureaucratic structures; leadership; mindsets; organizational culture; core capabilities and market/environment conditions. The study builds a conceptual model of the barriers to innovation, and suggests a number of structural, leadership and "corporate camouflage" strategies that innovators and intrapreneurs can use to overcome the "innovation killers" inherent in large bureaucracies. The paper focuses on both the barriers that prevent unique innovation stages and a range of innovation types that includes process, complex, radical and disruptive innovation. The study examines both internal and external inhibitors of innovation and their inter-dependencies. A comprehensive literature review provides the basis for a detailed discussion of the characteristics of large organizations and the barriers to innovation. Innovation, with the exception of limited process innovation, faces significant if not insurmountable barriers in large organizations. No single cause prevents the innovation process. The barriers and the reasons for the barriers are varied. Rigid organizational structures reinforced by a rules-based culture and risk-adverse leadership focus on short-term results, efficiency, current core capabilities, and existing market dominance. The outcomes provide poor soil for innovation. The characteristics of an organization’s leadership and the cultural and mindset dynamics that result may enable or inhibit creativity and innovation, but often reflect an organizational intolerance of "change agents" and innovators. Markets, the structure of competition and high barriers to entry also play a significant role acting as “deterring” barriers for organizations seeking to take innovation beyond marginal improvements. The strategies recommended for diluting and overcoming barriers to innovation include internal or independent innovation capabilities, new models of creativity that enable leaders to innovate, raising the entrepreneurial calibre of leadership, strengthening the motivation of innovators, and enabling shifts away from current core capabilities.

Keywords: Innovation, Large Organizations, Innovation Barriers and Innovation Strategies.

Date: 9 September 2016
Uncontrolled Keywords: Innovation, Large Organizations, Innovation Barriers and Innovation Strategies.
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2016 14:20
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2016 14:20
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1229

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