The Big Hairy Challenge with Separating Innovation from the Core Business

One of the decisions large companies need to make about how to structure their innovation efforts is the amount of integration – independence to build into the system and into the mindset-culture of the company. The problem is, as the author points out, that:

As risk and uncertainty are reduced and projects move closer to launch and scale-up, development spend increases and teams get significantly larger.

The ideal situation would be to have the capability to operate anywhere along the dimension from separate to integrated depending on a) the type of initiative and b) its resource and knowledge requirements. But few companies are organized or have the processes to achieve this type of ambidextrous behavior.

The author (and others) have proposed a solution

One way to overcome this challenge is with a portfolio and resource management process led by decisive leaders who can balance this tension

The decisions that must be made on a regular, on-going basis are those that recognize the nature of the opportunity (sustaining to transformational) and where it is in its development (resources required at its current level), and allocate the company’s time and attention appropriately. And by, the way, do this in a way that is transparent and that promoted buy-in and support from the operating side of the company. Not an easy task, but one that is necessary.

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