Strategies for building radical innovation potential: exploring the role of collaborative creative design methods

Abstract : In this paper, we present an empirical research on Collaborative Creative Design Methods (CCDM) that are used in response to new environmental challenges which impel firms to revised Radical Innovation (RI) strategies. This work emphasizes the need for combining social and organizational perspectives on RI strategies, with the most recent cognitive perspectives on creative thinking and design theory. Drawing on the results from the in-depth case study of a firm operating in the aeronautics industry, our study provides an empirically based account of how cognitive and social dynamics may interplay at work and suggests an integrative analytical framework for understanding the role of CCDM in building strategic RI potential. INTRODUCTION Over the last years, many factors have increased the need for radical innovation (RI) in several industries (e.g.: automotive, aeronautics, energy, transports). In the aeronautics industry, for example, growing environmental challenges as well as intensive R&D competition coming from emerging countries are presently impelling firms to profoundly revise their new product development (NPD). Of course, facing RI challenges is not a new phenomenon as such (Tushman and Anderson 1986) and past research already introduced notions such as " disruptive innovation " (Christensen 1997) or " major innovation " (O'Connor 2008) to characterize and cope with these specific situations (Leifer, McDermott et al. 2000). However, in practice, RI strategies are still in many cases only driven by individuals or isolated groups which often face strong organizational and managerial resistance. In such context, an important issue is how to combine network building with disruptive ideas generation in order to build successful RI strategies? It is currently known that RI requires different organizational and managerial tools from those used for incremental innovation (Leifer, McDermott et al. 2000). Compared to classic NPD methods (Cooper 1994), managing for RI thus necessitates paradoxical processes to prevent from both organizational " isolation " and conceptual " repetition. " Organizational and social perspectives have already identified isolation threats and provided a solid managerial basis to build network and protect innovation cells (O'Connor 2008). Likewise, socio-psychological and cognitive perspectives have proposed methods to generate disruptive ideas and avoid fixation effects (Finke, Ward et al. 1992). However, past research has not paid full attention to the combination of both perspectives. While organizational works tend to overlook the ways in which to concretely maintain high originality all along the RI process, cognitive works did not identify organizational means to manage isolation threats that affect RI projects. As a result, even though RI has become a key element for strategic change in many industrial sectors, managerial processes which could support both network building and disruptive ideas are still lacking.
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Frédéric Arnoux, Mathias Béjean. Strategies for building radical innovation potential: exploring the role of collaborative creative design methods. 17th International Product Development Management Conference, Jun 2010, Murcia, Spain. ⟨hal-01133983⟩

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