Innovation is the means by which organizations survive and thrive in uncertain and turbulent conditions. Technological change, globalization, and changing patterns of consumption are compounding the complex and rapidly changing circumstances in which organizations operate. The average tenure of a Fortune 500 company has dropped from 40 to 15 years. One half of all USA start-ups go out of business before their fourth year. Innovation – the successful application of new ideas – allows organizations to understand, respond to, and lead the changes needed to endure and succeed in such environments. Innovation is what connects knowledge with economic action.
Innovation does not happen automatically: it has to be managed. We now have a substantial body of robust literature that explains why innovation needs to be managed, what is to be done and how it is to be done. The emphasis is on ‘robust’ - ie high-quality theoretical and empirical - research because innovation is an area renowned in its demand for and supply of simplistic solutions. It is a concept that is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Organizations want quick and easy answers to their innovation problems, and there’s no shortage of consultants prepared to sell them. Innovation management is also highly topical and there is no shortage of mediocre research in the field (there is a rapid increase in the number of journals with ‘innovation’ in the title).
Fortunately we have a substantial number of seminal, ‘classic’ articles. It is the intent of this collection to publish a structured selection of these papers. Together they will provide an authoritative guide on the field, its development, core content, and current and emerging issues. It will provide a guide through the maze of confusion around the nature, process and outcomes of innovation management, and will be an invaluable source for those studying and researching the subject. This will include those in the increasing number of specialist postgraduate courses in the area, and in undergraduate programmes in business and engineering.