End-Starting the Innovation Process: How Organizations Redesigned Their Innovation Process in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted: 23 Feb 2021

See all articles by Hila Lifshitz-Assaf

Hila Lifshitz-Assaf

Harvard University - Business School (HBS); New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Steven Randazzo

Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard

Olivia S Jung

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: February 22, 2021

Abstract

This paper describes how organizations innovated in response to the global ventilator shortage problem during the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovative performance of few expert organizations had fallen short and an accelerated development and execution of new ventilators was critical. In this context, we explored how organizations’ redesigned their innovation processes to address this challenge. In this comparative case study, we describe how three organizations “end-started” the innovation process, bringing forward and infusing execution elements with those of ideation at the very start of the innovation process in order to accelerate it. Prior literature has documented the challenges of transition between the “start” of the innovation process as idea generation and the “end” as execution, as the two phases are almost contradicting in nature. however, times of crisis create new conditions and in response, new processes. In this study, we observed a new process that organizations used to expedite the overall innovation process and helped to surpass the transitional challenges. We propose that end-starting the innovation process is important beyond times of crisis, as it can help to overcome the execution barriers of new product development and enable process acceleration. This study makes contributions to the literature on innovation, creativity, and temporality.

Suggested Citation

Lifshitz-Assaf, Hila and Lifshitz-Assaf, Hila and Randazzo, Steven and Jung, Olivia, End-Starting the Innovation Process: How Organizations Redesigned Their Innovation Process in the COVID-19 Pandemic (February 22, 2021). NYU Stern School of Business Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3790271

Hila Lifshitz-Assaf (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

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New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

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Steven Randazzo

Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard ( email )

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Olivia Jung

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

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