White Paper Pursuing Whitespace Opportunities – An IRI Research on Research Project


In graphic arts, whitespace is characterized as negative space. It functions as an important design element, framing adjacent objects and bringing coherence. Whitespace also represents unused capacity to be filled with something of value, be it on an artistic canvas or, in the corporate world, an innovation canvas.

There are numerous approaches to conventional innovation activities, but the field lacks a framework for whitespace opportunity pursuit. A research team consisting of innovation practitioners set out to understand how organizations pursue whitespace opportunities and to develop such a framework. We limited our scope to actions companies take (i.e. allocate resources, time and attention) once a decision has been made to pursue a whitespace opportunity. Our study focused on how companies organize and operate to pursue a whitespace opportunity, and how these actions and behaviors contribute to (or impede) the journey as well as the outcomes.