IMI - Innovation Management Institute

The integration of product innovation and strategy practises in five Finnish industries

Authors Lehtonen Tommi
Project COINNO
Type IMI Project paper
Release date Dec. 9, 2005
Publisher IMI Publication, Report No. 19. 89 p.
ISBN 951-22-7920-7


As product life cycles shorten and competition in many business fields increases, the alignment of business strategy and innovation activities becomes more and more important. This study elaborates the processes and organisational interactions that integrate strategy and product innovation practises. The study is based on a crossindustry research of 30 companies conducted in the year 2004. The objective of this study is set as “to present a context-dependent model of the interactions and integration structures of innovation and strategy practices”. More practically, this study finds out what kind of processes allow and enable strategy and innovation practises to interact, inducing strategic will to the innovation activities while enough freedom is left for creativity and innovation. The theoretical foundation of the research is in strategy process theory of Burgelman (1983). The study is conducted as an inductive case-study that generates theory from the 30 within-case analyses. The unit of analysis is integration process. These processes refer to mechanisms that enable the top management, middle management and innovation personnel to interact and organise the innovation practises. Eight cases are taken into more detailed analysis and the preliminary conclusions are based on these while the rest 22 cases strengthen the empirical observations. The syntheses are based on the similarities of analysed processes and similarities with theoretical implications.
The themes that emerged as main concepts of integration are
1) top management communication and decisions,
2) middle management strategic behaviour,
3) discussion between market needs and technological possibilities and
4) facilitation of innovation.
The results include also eighteen organisational processes for integration and a synthesis of evolutionary strategy framework and these processes. Three examples of these processes are correct management principles, such as allowance of slack, work of the steering group and idea structuring and selection done by the CTO. The processes are presented in discursive form, and the study includes reflection of the data and literature.

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