Innovating by Doing: Promoting On-the-Job Experimentation Through a Climate for Innovation
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, Forthcoming
31 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 10, 2016
Firms’ innovation performance and productivity depend on engaging the entire organization in the innovation process. Going beyond the typical focus on R&D, the focus of this article is on engaging those employees who are active in “productive” activities in innovation. This article explores how a firm can create an environment in which those employees can build on their local needs and knowledge to learn and innovate through a process of experimentation and problem solving during “on-the-job” activities. I draw on innovation, creativity and organizational climate research to explore the determinants and effects of such innovative behavior. I develop a theoretical framework of how organizational practices affect employees’ willingness and ability to experiment — a behavioral integral to innovation. I furthermore argue that the relationship between such “climate for innovation” and the ultimate performance is inverse U-shaped. The framework implies that managers can turn the entire organization into an innovation lab but they need to balance the tension between productive and innovative practices.
Keywords: Corporate entrepreneurship, experimentation, innovation, intrapreneurship, learning, organizational climate, performance, production floor, productivity, user firm
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