Background and Research Relevance

According to strategy researchers there is no more a sustainable competitive advantage. Even the strongest and technologically most capable organizations have to face the situation where they must create, adapt and design new products and services to maintain their competitiveness. Technological discontinuities create incentives for innovation and for entrepreneurs seeking new opportunities. Product and service innovations appear across companies and industries, often through unplanned interactions. Despite of the emerging new approaches to innovation like global, open multidisciplinary and collaborative, we still lack knowledge on the efficient forms of organizing and managing innovations in and across firms (IBM 2006).

Innovation has long been identified as an important driver of competitiveness in most industries and in particular in industries that face rapid change. While creating and commercializing innovation is a formidable challenge per se. Strategic management literature has recognized that in turbulent markets firms cannot succeed by long-term planning but rather need to create adaptive routines to succeed (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000). Therefore, the understanding of the renewal of the firm and managing the innovative activities by redirecting has become the interesting issue in strategic management literature. Although the importance of different forms of innovation management is increasingly recognized, managing innovation activities and corporate ventures as well as measuring innovation and innovativeness is not well understood either in theory or in practice.

Finnish competitiveness and local competitiveness of Helsinki area derives at least partly from the ability to create advanced technology and productive resources (Science and Technology Policy Council of Finland, 2003). ICT industries have been a driver of the Finnish economy over the last decade and to maintain its strong competitiveness, efficient innovation management processes would seem to be utmost important. Our research will contribute directly to give Finnish firms especially in ICT-industry, the necessary tools to compete. In our research we focus on both global big players as well as small/medium size firms. The development of the small/medium size firms and their strategic management tools is essential for the future success.

The implications for practicing managers are novel insight into how companies are better able to manage, direct and redirect the innovative activities. Our research is also important for other industries than ICT industries since increasing integration of ICT technologies. Large firms are important motors of the Finnish innovation system and maintaining their innovativeness is the key question for us. The contributions of this research are likely to be especially significant in improving the ability of small/medium size firms to manage their innovation processes.

Our research will make significant contributions to theory by contributing to theories of entrepreneurship, innovation management, venturing, dynamic capabilities, adaptation and change. We will publish several articles aimed at top journals.

The project works with companies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and other partners to create new solutions and enhance understanding of innovation challenges that companies encounter. The role of the different stakeholders is described below.

The data will be collected in both ICT- industry players like Nokia, IBM, Kone, and 2) HTV, Saunalahti, Suunto, and Planmeca. This project is done with co-operation with researchers in Helsinki University of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology and Columbia University. In addition this project is networked with professional associations like EFQM (European Foundation of Quality Management), TEK, and Insinööriliitto and consulting firms like Innospa.

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Submitted by daviding on Mon, 2006-09-04 20:51.