Innovation & Change

Innovate or Exploit? Some thoughts on Rigidity vs. Flexibility, and Myopic Measurement

I’m just reading Schermerhorn et al. There’s an interesting chapter on innovation which captures the topic of flexibility vs. rigidity, or exploration vs. exploitation, that I’ve recently discussed with a group of research fellows in the context of the dichotomy of exploration vs. exploitation: “too much emphasis on exploration will yield a whole list of potential ideas for new products and processes to new clients and customers in new markets, but little pay-off . . . Conversely, an emphasis on exploitation stresses control and evolutionary development. Such exploitation can be planned with tight budgets, careful forecasts, and steady implementation. It is often much easier to stress exploitation because most organizations have a structure and culture that emphasize stability and control.” (2010, pp. 381–382)

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Innovation Culture: Thoughts about allowing for more flexibility.

For a well-formatted version, see here .

Introduction

What is required—and why—to establish a balance between flexibility and stringent order to enable a company to be receptive to innovation? And what focus areas should be considered for implementing such change?

This paper is organized as follows: section  2  contextualizes innovation with organizational culture, innovation and change, the findings of which section  3  utilizes to explore why and how to allow for flexibility and change. Section  4  brings in some of the author’s own experiences, and section  5  concludes.

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