Online citations, reference lists, and bibliographies.
← Back to Search

Innovation: The Classic Traps.

R. M. Kanter
Published 2006 · Business, Medicine

Save to my Library
Download PDF
Analyze on Scholarcy
Never a fad, but always in or out of fashion, innovation gets rediscovered as a growth enabler every half dozen years. Too often, though, grand declarations about innovation are followed by mediocre execution that produces anemic results, and innovation groups are quietly disbanded in cost-cutting drives. Each managerial generation embarks on the same enthusiastic quest for the next new thing. And each generation faces the same vexing challenges- most of which stem from the tensions between protecting existing revenue streams critical to current success and supporting new concepts that may be crucial to future success. In this article, Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter reflects on the four major waves of innovation enthusiasm she's observed over the past 25 years. She describes the classic mistakes companies make in innovation strategy, process, structure, and skills assessment, illustrating her points with a plethora of real-world examples--including AT&T Worldnet, Timberland, and Ocean Spray. A typical strategic blunder is when managers set their hurdles too high or limit the scope of their innovation efforts. Quaker Oats, for instance, was so busy in the 1990s making minor tweaks to its product formulas that it missed larger opportunities in distribution. A common process mistake is when managers strangle innovation efforts with the same rigid planning, budgeting, and reviewing approaches they use in their existing businesses--thereby discouraging people from adapting as circumstances warrant. Companies must be careful how they structure fledgling entities alongside existing ones, Kanter says, to avoid a clash of cultures and agendas--which Arrow Electronics experienced in its attempts to create an online venture. Finally, companies commonly undervalue and underinvest in the human side of innovation--for instance, promoting individuals out of innovation teams long before their efforts can pay off. Kanter offers practical advice for avoiding these traps.

This paper is referenced by
Innovative Work and Citizenship Behaviors from Information Technology Professionals: Effects of Their Psychological Contract
S. Newton (2008)
Book essay on Unrelenting Innovation: How to create a culture for market dominance
Rajesh K. Aithal (2015)
Expanding the perspective on global business
Michael Chibba (2013)
Open innovation competence : towards a competence profile for inter-organizational collaboration innovation teams
E. D. Chatenier (2009)
The impact of technology on organizational change in public libraries: a qualitative study
Diane L. Velasquez (2010)
Back to Culture
Barry L. Cross (2012)
Fostering Innovation Activities of SMEs with Regional Innovation Centres (RICE)
A. Ziltener (2008)
Innovation in small and micro-enterprises in Donegal; nice idea or commercial reality?
Ultan Faherty (2013)
Style and substance : Towards an integrated framework for research into leadership and creativity
Building Change Readiness Practices for Information Technology Support Staff.
D. Perkins (2014)
Accelerating Implementation of Transportation Research Results
Barbara T. Harder (2014)
Towards a Competence Profile for Inter-Organizational Learning in Open Innovation Teams
E. D. Chatenier (2008)
Innovation and the limits of the selection logic: Introducing generative capacity as a complement to absorptive capacity
M. Elmquist (2008)
Innowacje społeczne i technologiczne : perspektywy i strategie
B. Arogyaswamy (2009)
Leveraged Innovation Management: Key Themes from the Journey of Dewrain Harvest Systems
M. Dixit (2007)
Innovating for sustainability: a framework for sustainable innovations and a model of sustainable innovations orientation
Rajan Varadarajan (2017)
Innovation in micro enterprises: reality or fiction?
Ultan Faherty (2016)
Chapter 2 Connecting Technical Capabilities with Societal Needs: The Power of Cyclic Interaction
G. Berkhout (2007)
Service Innovation: Intended Strategy or Fall-Back Plan?
A. Ziltener (2011)
Zum Umgang mit Vielfalt in Organisationen Innovationsprozesse jenseits traditionellen Managements
Edelgard Kutzner (2014)
A framework for quality maintenance system in construction industry
Kung Leong Tiong (2014)
Developing Innovation Capabilities: A Longitudinal Study of a Project at Volvo Cars
S. Börjesson (2011)
Service innovations of the banking industry in Taiwan: The perspective of reverse product cycle
P. Yang (2013)
The usefulness or uselessness of novelty: re-examining assumptions about the relationship between creativity and innovation
Tina L. Juillerat (2010)
How are corporate ventures evaluated and selected
Monica V. Masucci (2020)
Strategic Economics of Network Industries
Hans Gottinger (2010)
From corporate social responsibility awareness to action
Caroline D. Ditlev-Simonsen (2010)
Success Factors in Strategic Corporate Venturing
Philipp Dauderstädt (2013)
An assessment of the determinants of corporate entrepreneurship in agricultural businesses : an integrated framework
H. M. Lotz (2009)
Human capital investment for front-line non managerial employees in the hospitality sector in Dubai (U.A.E.)
I. Karanikola (2015)
Leading Innovation in a Creative Milieu
P. Bacevice (2013)
Strategic Conversations: Creating and Directing the Entrepreneurial Workforce
J. Spender (2014)
See more
Semantic Scholar Logo Some data provided by SemanticScholar