September 2013 Download this article as a PDF

From the Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to the September 2013 issue of the Technology Innovation Management Review. For this issue and the one that follows it in October, the editorial theme is Managing Innovation for Tangible Performance, and I am pleased to introduce our guest editor, Sorin Cohn, President of BD Cohnsulting Inc. in Ottawa, Canada.

In November, we welcome back Seppo Leminen, Principal Lecturer at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland, and Mika Westerlund, Assistant Professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, as guest editors to reprise the theme of Living Labs. Leminen and Westerlund were the guest editors when we covered this theme in our September 2012 issue, and we are looking forward to exploring this theme in even greater depth.

Also note that we are continuing our annual tradition of focusing our January issue on the theme of Open Source Business. Please get in touch if you are interested in contributing an article on this topic.

We hope you enjoy this issue of the TIM Review and share your comments online. Please contact us with article topics and submissions, suggestions for future themes, and any other feedback.

Chris McPhee

From the Guest Editor

Can one innovate innovation? Our answer is an unqualified “yes”. Firms of all sizes and in all sectors can use the knowledge of innovation management. Firms can benefit from the most up-to-date techniques and tools to direct and drive their innovation activities to where and how the greatest value can be reaped in support of their own business goals and innovation strategies.

Although innovation in firms has been the key contributor to enhanced competitiveness and economic growth, lately it has become a buzzword. Its indiscriminate use has created a fog that hides confusion and inaction behind all the talk about innovation. Too many people still think of innovation narrowly in terms of R&D or have not yet grasped the fact that services represent now a large part of industry revenues, including within manufacturing companies.

Firms face the relentless stream of disruptions in their operational environment because of evolving technologies, new customer demands, shorter product lifecycles, geopolitical instabilities, and competitive threats. They must develop their innovative capabilities and exploit them to maintain their competitive positions. Some companies reach the top of their industries thanks to innovation, but few stay there year after year due to their incapacity to sustain innovation at the level required.

Innovation should not be considered and treated as a goal in itself, but as the means to the organization's goals of relevance, competitiveness, and financial success. Sound decision making is critical because resources are limited and opportunities for innovation may be numerous. First, it is necessary for managers to decide where to innovate and then to select what to innovate. Then, they need to decide who will pursue the innovation and how. There is also the necessity to evaluate the progress of innovation, which implies a further decision regarding what to measure and how to measure it. There are also decisions on who and how to reward, as well as where and when to go next.

This issue of the Technology Innovation Management Review deals with the technology of firm-level innovation management – the practices, methodologies, and tools for managing innovation activities to enhance competitive performance in the market.

In the first article, Harold Schroeder, President of Schroeder & Schroeder Inc., describes the "art and science of transformation" approach, which is designed to help companies improve their innovation performance through effective organizational change. Science includes the key factors of strategy and systems, while art plays a complementary and inter-related role through the key factors of organizational culture and collaboration. Schroeder focuses on these four key factors of the approach, highlights examples that illustrate the benefits to organizations, and provides recommendations to help organizations implement the approach.

Next, Robert Crawhall, Principal Consultant at Innoxec Innovation Executive Services, reflects upon the importance of time management for innovation managers. He considers the corporate implications of innovation, including the development process, supply management, and manufacturing considerations, to show how they may affect the time required to commercialize an innovation. The article concludes with practical recommendations to help innovation managers better manage the indeterminate time factors associated with innovation.

Claude Legrand and Rob LaJoie, Managing Partners of Staples Innovation, argue that service innovation holds great potential for increasing the competitiveness and growth of individual businesses and for boosting overall productivity in Canada. They provide recommendations to help public and private sector leaders take advantage of this "under-valued, high-potential innovation opportunity", and they call for the creation of a national service innovation resource to support enterprises of all sizes as a means to improve Canadian productivity.

Stephen Hurwitz, a partner at the Boston-based law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, examines the current shortage of venture capital in Canada and its role in creating a "commercialization crisis". In particular, Hurwitz examines the federal government's 2013 Venture Capital Action Plan, which is designed to address this shortage of venture capital in Canada. Although Hurwitz applauds the innovativeness of this plan, he highlights key problems that must be addressed for it to stand a chance of delivering on its potential of regenerating Canada’s venture capital industry.

Frédérick Brousseau-Gauthier, a student at Université du Québec à Montréal, and Yvon Brousseau, CEO of the Centre of Excellence in Energy Efficiency, explore the ramifications of a paradigm shift from managing capital to managing heritage. They underline the need to create a series of pioneering business models for enterprises to adapt and profit from a new, heritage economy. In support of this need, their article introduces the Hub for Business Model Innovation (Hub-BMI), a research centre that is being developed in Montréal, Canada, to enable the development, testing, and validation of pioneering business models for a heritage economy.

Finally, David Watters, President and CEO of the Global Advantage Consulting Group, answers the question: "What are the components of Canada’s innovation ecosystem and how well is it performing?" Watters describes types of organizations in the public sector, the private sector, and academia that assist firms in developing innovative products or services to sell in domestic and global markets. Although he highlights Canada's recent poor performance on innovation report cards, he argues that the country's commercialization capability would be enhanced if the supporting organizations within the innovation ecosystem were better able to "segment the marketplace of firms", which would allow them to tailor their services to match the key characteristics of the firms they serve.

We hope that you will benefit from the insights the authors have shared in this issue of the TIM Review. We consider the dissemination of up-to-date information on advanced methods and technologies for more effective firm-level innovation management to be a mission of importance. This information serves you, your colleagues, and your organizations with the knowledge and tools required to raise the performance of your companies where it counts: in the market.

Sorin Cohn
Guest Editor

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Keywords: commercialization, competitiveness, firm-level innovation management, innovative capabilities, managing innovation