Comments for Nimble execution: learn cheaply and adapt quickly

BIERLAIRE Louise, BOMAL Marine, KIEVITS Ysaline, LEMAIRE Romain, TOUSSAINT Antoine & VANDERSMISSEN Gaëtane

Chang, Y. C., Chang, H. T., Chi, H. R., Chen, M. H., & Deng, L. L. (2012). How do established firms improve radical innovation performance? The organizational capabilities view. Technovation, 32(7-8), 441-451.

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Bataille Marie, Brienza Leonardo, Heun Alexander, Philippart Robin, Paternotte Bodart Sergio & Thiry Emilie

Olson, E., Walker, O., Ruekert, R. & Bonner J. (2001). Patterns of cooperation during new product development among marketing, operations and R&D: Implications for project performance. The Journal of Product Innovation Management, 18, 258-271.

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DECOTTIGNIES Gil, DELHAYE Clotilde, DELLA FAILLE Louise, DERCQ Arthur, OUAZZANI CHAHDI Karim, PELTIER Emilie, WATY Laura

(Article) Blank, S. (2013). Why the lean start-up changes everything. Harvard Business Review, 91(5), 63-72.

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Chiliade Camille, Collard Mary-Lou, Defraiteur Diego, Degroote Aurélie, Muller Olivia, Puggia Rémi

Mintzberg, H. (2001). Decision-Making: It’s not what you think. MIT Sloan Management Review, 42(3), 89-93.

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Bougria Oussama, Cortés Zambelli Jaime, Defauw Sébastien, Tsgilenge Nzembela Xavier

(Article) Mankins, M. C., & Steele, R. (2006). Stop making plans; start making decisions. Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 76.

In this paper, the regular way to make strategic planning is criticized. It stipulates that forcing the strategic planning into an annual cycle could be a problem to executives who must make many important decisions during the year. There is two problems explained in the article : The time problem and the timing problem. The time problem is the fact that the…
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In this paper, the regular way to make strategic planning is criticized. It stipulates that forcing the strategic planning into an annual cycle could be a problem to executives who must make many important decisions during the year.
There is two problems explained in the article : The time problem and the timing problem.
The time problem is the fact that the company who follows a annual strategic planning process devote 8-9 weeks per year to strategy development. It could be too short to all the strategic development process and many issues cannot be resolved in a short time like this.
Timing problem is due to the fact that the managers have to take strategic decisions continuously during the year and their decisions are often motivated by an immediate need for action or reaction. Forcing the annual strategic plan will not stick with this need.

The first key insight presented in the article is that a company must take decisions out of the traditional planning process and create a different, parallel process for the development of strategies that will help executives to identify the decisions they have to make in order to create more shareholder value over time. This process will end with a set of concrete decisions that management can codify into future business plans through the existing planning process, which remains in place.

The second insight is the continuous strategy development. In this part the article develops the fact that, rather than force strategy reviews into a two-or three-month windows, it must be spread during the the year. In this way, executives will be able to focus on one issue at a time until they find a decision. In addition to that, issues as market and competitive conditions change, could be added to the agenda easily without needing an ad-hoc process.

The last key insight is the strategy reviews to produce real decisions.
Indeed, it is stated in the article that the major obstacles to decision making are disagreements among executives over past decisions, current alternatives, and even the facts presented to support strategic plans. That’s why companies must structure their strategy review sessions.

The key managerial advice that we can remember from this article is to produce a decision-focused strategic planning. In order to do so it is imperative to stop focusing too much on timing and business units.
The first step on this path is to consider plan making and decision making as two separate processes. Decisions must be taken outside of the planning frame. Indeed, executive must watch the market and ask the question “What must we do in order to increase shareholder and stakeholders’ value”. Once these questions can be answered, they are translated into executive decisions that can be integrated in a business plan. This is the case for Boeing, the BCA unit possess a ten years business plan, reviewed and updated on weekly basis. With this system they can gains great insights on their current financial state. However, it has proven itself to be inefficient for the decision-making process. That’s why a they have hired a team of strategy experts who assess the new challenges on daily basis. That way they are able to react to the market and propose new alternatives. This method has proven to greatly increase the firm efficiency and reactivity.
Another major advice is to focus on a few major key themes. Instead of spreading to much of your attention, you should concentrate your forces on large scale questions taking multiples business units in account. The problem of firms relying too much on the business-unit approach, is that the business managers will tend to fight for their own unit’s interest. The company might end up stuck in complex negotiations between the units over who deserves the most allocations. It is important to take a step back and focus more on the big picture. Instead of asking, “what can I do about this particular unit”, ask yourself how you can coordinate your different units in order to solve a problem and reach a certain goal.
Finally, you also might want to change the timing of your strategy reviews and the way conduct them. Nowadays, most business conduct their strategy reviews at the end of the second semester. We noticed that better performing firms tend to spread their reviews through the entire year. For example, the company Textron carries the reviews of 2 or 3 business units every trimester. By doing so they let times to managers to focus on way key issues at the time. Moreover this way of operating gives more flexibility to the firm to adapt to the constant changes in the market. Finally with this rolling method, different business units have more time coordinate their strategy, increasing the cooperation inside the venture. Moreover, they created a more codified way of doing these strategic reviews. Instead of losing endless time in debate about past mistakes or the validity of the data as it usually the case, they implement a methodology separated in 3 steps. The first one is presenting the date and the current state of the market. The second session will consist exploration of alternative and finally voting and decisions take place in the last session.
At the moment managers want to apply this concept must be aware of certain limitations that can occur during the implementation of the process. Lack of capabilities, change of routines and lose the focus can be dangerous for the company.

The article said with this new method companies start solving 8 problems per year instead of 2,5 on average. So, as a manager, it is necessary to have the ability to manage more information going and, therefore, being constant in the review of things that are happening in the environment. The main question is: Do I have the aptitude and discipline needed to be constant in the execution and planning? Actually, this question is not only for the manager but for the team also, Is my team good enough to manage more information and make more decisions?

Besides, the article is based on a study made to big companies. Leaving the small companies and startup out of the conclusions. The main thing is about the change of routines: while the startup is creating their routines, the big company needs to modify their own. Change the routines in a big company requires that old people or the “experts” in their field change the way to manage and if they are not able to do it -they don’t have the ability to change – this method doesn’t work.

Finally, if the manager loses the focus on innovating can be dangerous for the company. With this method, the manager solve problems that are already existing and is not looking for new ones to get out of the comfort zone. This means that the manager is focused on the short-medium term and not in the long term and it can be dangerous because maybe at some point the manager will be overwhelmed for not anticipate problems, and in the moment of action will be too late. For example, when a new building in China is available the manager will start to worry about whether to expand or not, instead of first thinking in expand and start looking for a bigger scope of opportunities not only in China but maybe in other countries.

Further References :

(Ebook) Harvard Business Review, Kahneman, D. Charan, R. (2013). “HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Making Smart Decisions”. Harvard Business Review, avalaible on https://store.hbr.org/product/hbr-s-10-must-reads-on-making-smart-decisions-with-featured-article-before-you-make-that-big-decision-by-daniel-kahneman-dan-lovallo-and-olivier-sibony/11367?sku=11367-PBK-ENG&referral=02560

(Digital Article) Graham, K. (2018). “6 Steps to Make Your Strategic Plan Really Strategic”. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2018/08/6-steps-to-make-your-strategic-plan-really-strategic

(Digital Article) Graham, K. (2018). “Your Strategic Plans Probably Aren’t Strategic, or Even Plans”. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2018/04/your-strategic-plans-probably-arent-strategic-or-even-plans

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Mathilde Brasseur

Sull, D., Homkes, R., & Sull, C. (2015). Why strategy execution unravels—and what to do about it. Harvard Business Review, 93(3), 57-66.

Key points This article treats about the execution of the strategy and discusses how to make this execution effective. First, strategy execution really matters : executional excellence is the challenge number one that corporate leaders have to face in a ranking of 80 issues also including innovation, geopolitical instability, and top-line growth. Execution is also difficult : two-thirds to…
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Key points

This article treats about the execution of the strategy and discusses how to make this execution effective.
First, strategy execution really matters : executional excellence is the challenge number one that corporate leaders have to face in a ranking of 80 issues also including innovation, geopolitical instability, and top-line growth. Execution is also difficult : two-thirds to three-quarters of large organizations struggle to implement their strategies.
The authors of the article led a project to understand how organizations could execute their strategies more efficiently. The results are that some beliefs, some myths about how to implement strategy are wrong. So, they challenge five myths and give new advice for managers for a more effective strategy execution.

Implications
Strategy execution suffers from five important myths.
Myth 1: Execution equals alignment. The managers often fail to put strategy into action because they struggle to coordinate the different units and parts involved in every level of the process of strategy execution. The management of horizontal commitments is important.
Myth 2: Execution means sticking to the plan. The management has to understand how important the resource reallocation is – in terms of funds, people and attention. The agility and the ability to change rapidly is way more efficient than the respect of chart that has been implemented at the beginning of the process and which can’t have foreseen future events. Roadmaps sometimes harm the execution rather than enforce it. And of course, even if agility is important, the adaptations must follow the company’s strategy.
Myth 3: Communication equals Understanding. Often managers think that communicating often about strategy makes that people understand them. But when asking employees of an organization to define and explain their strategy, they often fail to indicate only one of their objectives; it proves that communication isn’t the only key factor of understanding and one of the biggest issues is that the message of top managers often changes. Asking their employees and managers to rephrase their strategy can be a good exercise. Misunderstanding of the strategy lead to failure.
Myth 4: Performance culture drives execution. A company always rewards past performance but should also pay attention to other qualities such as agility, teamwork or ambition of their employees and reward them. One reason is that, as said before, coordination is essential for a good execution. Top management performance does not reflect a good strategy execution.
Myth 5: Execution should be driven from the top. The problem is that this kind of execution from top to down often awaken jealousy or disinterest from lower level management instead of inspiring them and growing their ambition and actions. Top management performance does not reflect a good strategy execution.
There is a great difference between execution and alignment that is often neglected by managers and conducts to failure. The problem is that the alignment of a strategy is required when it comes to allocate resources but the strategy execution has to be well-defined otherwise the multiple units in charge of the different stage of the process are lost because they do not have a clear idea of the objectives and how to execute them.

A redefinition of execution is needed to help managers identify clearly and more rapidly where they struggle to put their strategy execution into actions. That is why the article suggest defining execution as “the ability to seize opportunities aligned with strategy while coordinating with other parts of the organization on an ongoing basis”.

Limitations
The paper gives different perspectives, but it is more theoretical than practical. In no one of the five myths it is explored a real case or show how a firm has to manage the problem. The paper is built by surveys that provide only managers’ opinion. Although they are informed about the problematics of their companies, they showed only general indications without going in details.
It focuses on communication and coordination across the hierarchy, but are they really the only problematic issues? Also, the alternatives bring other problems that are not showed. For example, myth 2 explain that resource reallocation is essential, but it does not consider the problems that imply. What about switch costs, even just for the competencies? Another example is myth 5 that suggests that low level management has to be taken into account: what about the coordination problems?
Overall, the paper is more focused on showing the myth than explains alternatives. It describes in details each myth and its consequences, but then it lacks to explain alternatives. Also it does not explain how a firm is supposed to change behaviour. Of course, every company is different and there is no such thing as a universal solution, but what provide a few basic guidelines to improve the change?

Further references
– Graham Kenny. (2019). 5 Simple Rules for Strategy Execution. Harvard Business Review
– Johan C. Aurik, Gillis Jonk, & Martin Fabel. (2015). The Future of Strategy: A Transformative Approach to Strategy for a World That Won’t Stand Still. McGraw-Hill Education – 208 pages
– Lund Pedersen, C., & Ritter, T. (2017). Great Corporate Strategies Thrive on the Right Amount of Tension. Harvard Business Review Digital Articles, 2-5.

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Alban ABEDINAJ, Clément BOUVRY, Martin BALGOBIN, Théotim CAMACHO-FERNANDES, Guillaume VANDE BERG

(Article) Drew, Stephen. “Building knowledge management into strategy: making sense of a new perspective.” Long Range Planning 32.1 (1999): 130-136.

This paper explores how managers might build knowledge management into the strategy process in their firms. Much has already been written about the philosophy and concepts of knowledge and intellectual capital. Less attention has been focused on how to combine a knowledge perspective with established strategy tools, or how to develop unique knowledge-based sources of sustainable competitive advantage. The first key…
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This paper explores how managers might build knowledge management into the strategy process in their firms. Much has already been written about the philosophy and concepts of knowledge and intellectual capital. Less attention has been focused on how to combine a knowledge perspective with established strategy tools, or how to develop unique knowledge-based sources of sustainable competitive advantage.

The first key insight is that knowledge is a driver for important national industry cluster. There are some sectors which are well known to be tech oriented. Electronics sectors, computer, telecommunication are example. Those sectors are based on knowledge, that is crucial to stay cutting edge. Knowledge seems to be the solution for the government to create value. The second key insight refers to knowledge management can redress the excesses of previous approaches such as BRP and downsizing. In fact, the priority of the knowledge management seems to be good for humans condition. The priority is to make sure to better use the human potential rather than downsize it. The last key insight is that all the knowledge of a company can be classed in four categories which allow us to better understand and manage our knowledge. These are : What we know we know, what we know we don’t know, what we don’t know we know and what we don’t know we don’t know.

A managerial involvement that could be put in place for the first key insight could be to diffuse knowledge via an intranet or knowledge network, which is a technique that has been widely used to communicate and solve problems when rapid knowledge transfer, teamwork over large distances and cultural change are key objectives. The second managerial implication focus on creating a knowledge based strategy. There exists many different tools for strategy such as: mission statements, stakeholder mapping, swot analysis, value chain,… Managers are encouraged to be creative in adapting these tools to their own purposes. For the third key insight, all these forms of knowledge could be considered part of a portfolio, and just as with a business portfolio, firms should consider managing and exploiting each knowledge type in different ways.

The limit for the first key insight comes mainly from the financing. In general these projects are elitist projects that cost a lot of money to set up. While the government believes that economic growth comes from these kinds of big projects, there is a huge need for financing and the funds are not unlimited. Regarding the second point, the key insight is valid if we have some results. In fact companies and government invest a lot in knowledge they want a payback. It produces a pressure to have some results. This pressure is on the shoulders of the managers. Finally, the limitation for the 4 categories of knowledge is that the appropriate organizational context for processing Type 4 knowledge may include tensions and types of culture and controls that are inappropriate for Type 1 knowledge management.

Further references:
(article) Gunjal, B. (2019). Knowledge management: Why do we need it for corporates. Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science (ISSN: 1394-6234).

(article) Haji-Azizi, N., Dokht-Esmati, M., & Moradi, S. (2010). Organizational Blockout: A novel Approach in knowledge management. Iranian Journal of Information processing and Management, 25(2), 317-330.

(article) Sharifzade, F., Narimani, M., & Koushki, A. (2012). Information Technology and Successful Knowledge Management Initiatives. Iranian Journal of Information processing and Management, 27(1), 171-188.

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Clémentine Henrioulle

(Article) Collis, D. (2016). Lean strategy. Harvard Business Review, 94(3), 62-68

Introduction: In this article David introduces Strategy and Entrepreneurship as polar opposites. Yet two concepts that need each other and are fundamental to ensure success. Many entrepreneurs fail to understand the effectiveness of the strategy and also do not understand that without the adequate managing strategic growth initiatives, the innovation can be undermine.To overcome some startups failure, the article approaches the…
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Introduction:
In this article David introduces Strategy and Entrepreneurship as polar opposites. Yet two concepts that need each other and are fundamental to ensure success. Many entrepreneurs fail to understand the effectiveness of the strategy and also do not understand that without the adequate managing strategic growth initiatives, the innovation can be undermine.To overcome some startups failure, the article approaches the lean strategy process.

Key Insights:
Strategy is seen as a pursuit of a clearly defined path through a set of activities, helps managers to figure out how to manage and wisely deploy the external resources. On the other side, entrepreneurship is what allows the enterprise to explore the right innovations, requiring ventures to pivot in new directions as information and markets shift rapidly. The article focuses on the achievement of an enduring success, enterprises have to find a balance by sticking up to a specific strategy while keeping an entrepreneurial spirit. Moreover, strategy helps entrepreneurs in 4 things: choose a viable opportunity, stay focused on the prize, align the entire organization and lastly make the necessary commitments. The appropriate strategy adopted can be implement with the following 3 entrepreneurial techniques: vision, deliberate a strategy and emergent strategy.

Implications:
First, entrepreneurs have to identify “what business they are in” and draw boundaries around what the venture will and will not do through defining the deliberate strategy. Firms will differentiate themselves from competitors, capture a specific market segment and meet the customer’s need by tackling the market with an innovative approach. Secondly, it is important that managers carefully dig down into where things went right or wrong, which hypotheses were validated or disproved, in order to amend the strategy wisely and react in an agile way. They should test hypotheses through identifying current mismatches, gaps, or opportunities in the offering’s fit with the market. Ex: Southwest customer self-service approach.

Limitations:
1)Managers should align the entire organization. Small start-ups can easily coordinate activities through daily personal interaction. On the other hand, large ventures can control the individual act by project management, a bureaucracy or a strategy. Therefore, the larger a company becomes, the more necessary the company adopt projected based structure. Of course, the structure is regulated by some aspects like the type of employment, the rewarding system, or the introduced IT system. But the strategy with project management supports the company’s distinctive value position. For example, the author asserts an educational gaming firm. At first, the firm takes up work-for-hire as the type of employment, and it produced one-off games. However, after the firm realized that they had to focus on educational publishers, and built software platform for the developers, they can achieve a better result.
2)Side-effect of feedback: Focusing too much on customers feedbacks might lead entrepreneurs to change their idea so frequently that they end up losing track on their objectives. Also, the entrepreneurs’ confidence might decrease when they receive too much negative responses. In addition, an idea can be mistakenly rejected because there are no rules which specify when entrepreneurs stop testing, declare victory or begin scaling production. Finally, lean strategy is effective for projects like developing a software or a website, but obviously there are some cases that require other project management methodology such as Waterfall

Further References:
We choose two further references as addition to the knowledge given in our article. The first one is an article written by Steven Blank and is about the application of lean development in the Start-Ups area. The article explains that only 25 percent of the start-ups end up as a success. Lean development favors experimentation over elaborate planning and this, following to the article, will improve grandly the success-rate of start-ups (Minimal Viable Product – Pivoting).
The second reference is a book written by Niklas Modig and Par Ahlstrom and provides a lot of experience-based examples on what is Lean and what is not. Its reading learns you on how to structure your thinking towards applications of lean throughout your work experience in the future.
https://hbr.org/…/…/why-the-lean-start-up-changes-everything
https://leankit.com/…/2017/02/top-5-lean-books-add-reading…/

Conclusion:
Lean strategy process makes strategy and entrepreneurship work together. It identifies on what companies and managers have to focus on and on what they do not have to focus on. It defines the boundaries of the market in which the company enters, and requires the company to make a good analysis of itself to understand its goal, vision and strategy. As said in the limitations, we have to be careful with lean strategy because each company and each market are really different.

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ALEXANDRE Charline, BLANCKAERT Lucie, DEKIMPE Emilie, GENIN Alix, STAINIER Laura

Eisenhardt, K. M., & Tabrizi, B. N. (1995). Accelerating adaptive processes: Product innovation in the global computer industry. Administrative Science Quarterly, 84-110.

Key insights: This article insists on the necessity of contemporary firms to adapt quickly and as fast as their competitors otherwise, there are risks to collapse. This ability has become a strategic competitive advantage in many sectors. However, even if innovation is crucial for a company, the pace at which it occurs is even more crucial. In the article, two…
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Key insights: This article insists on the necessity of contemporary firms to adapt quickly and as fast as their competitors otherwise, there are risks to collapse. This ability has become a strategic competitive advantage in many sectors. However, even if innovation is crucial for a company, the pace at which it occurs is even more crucial. In the article, two models have been developed to help firms to accelerate the development process of new products:
A.Compression model: This model is mainly based on the assumption that the development is composed by a predictable series of compressed steps happening in certain, predictable and well-understood environments. In this model, the organization must take time to schedule and plan the development of the product for several reasons. First, it enables to remove unnecessary steps and sequence well the activities. Secondly, it allows to delegate tasks to the best-qualified people what can considerably reduce processing time and bring another point of view on the product development. Also, by using the Computer-Aided Design tool, it allows developers to reach a final design more quickly through the automation of predictable computational procedures. Moreover, wait between steps or overlapping them can significantly reduce development length. Furthermore, adding some deadlines and giving rewards to workers when they respect the deadlines can be a motivation to process quicker.
B.Experiential model: This model occurs in flexible, adaptive and organic organizations when the situation, the technologies and the market are uncertain. In this environment, the company must rely on real-time information, be flexible, have a solid structure and be confident what lets a wide space for improvisation. To develop the product, the firm has to make several iterations that can be simultaneous, alternative designs, designs that are iterations of previous ones or a combination between 2. It will help to accelerate the understanding of the product, improve the confidence of developers and help to detect strengths and weaknesses earlier.

Implications: As a manager, the most important thing to do is to do the right choice concerning the innovation model to adopt. Indeed, both models are not adapted to every company and depending on the environment, they would have to choose one or another model. To make sure they have made the right choice, they could put in place a follow-up.
Then, firms have to develop relationships with their partners to create desire for projects and learn from them. By developing collaborative design, firms would “design with” rather than “design for”.
Finally, firms should establish innovation boundaries even if it can be perceived negatively. It will help to quickly filter the ideas to focus on the most promising opportunities aligned with the strategy. One way is to focus on the mission of the company and on the ultimate value it aims to deliver rather than on the product itself.

Limitations: One of the biggest limitation is the difference that can exist between theory and practice. Indeed, the hypothesis that the two models helps to reduce time is not always true. Researchers have shown results that were opposite to the theory. Concerning the compression model, there is only one condition (cross-functional teams) on six that was leading to faster product development.
Another limitation is about the timing. Too fast product development and too fast market entry can be a trap because of a bad market targeting. It is sometimes better to invest in an experiment and R&D to have the guarantee of the success.

Further references:
• Bytheway, C. W. (2007). FAST creativity and innovation: Rapidly improving processes, product development and solving complex problems. J. Ross Publishing.
• Cankurtaran, P., Langerak, F., & Griffin, A. (2013). Consequences of new product development speed: A meta‐analysis. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30(3), 465-486.
Fast Innovation, Pau Garcia Mila, published by TedX talks, 26 june 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPuXLEqK_uU

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Alicia Sottiaux, Virgile Vandeput, Valentine Brognion, Mathilde Lebfevre, Maurice Martin

(Article) Magnusson, M., Boccardelli, P., & Börjesson, S. (2009). Managing the Efficiency-Flexibility Tension in Innovation: Strategic and Organizational Aspects. Creativity and Innovation Management, 18(1), 2-7.

The text summarize ideas from different papers presented at the 8th International CINet (Continuous Innovation Network) conference in Gothenburg in order to share knowledge in the field of continuous innovation. It outlines the efficiency-flexibility tension in innovation. First, companies can focus their strategy on efficiency. Many of the actual products deal with a steady state of innovation that includes efficiency…
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The text summarize ideas from different papers presented at the 8th International CINet (Continuous Innovation Network) conference in Gothenburg in order to share knowledge in the field of continuous innovation. It outlines the efficiency-flexibility tension in innovation.

First, companies can focus their strategy on efficiency. Many of the actual products deal with a steady state of innovation that includes efficiency in term of cost and lead time reduction. Instead of making one a big innovation, the idea of efficiency fits more with small changes on the product and come closer to the notion of incremental innovation. It is thanks to a serie of small improvements to an existing product that a company can empower its competitive position over time. It also goes along a short-term vision and finally focuses on what you know and on exploitation of our own knowledge.

The second key point is in opposition with the first one. Indeed, to generate success and survive in the long term, a company needs revolutionary and discontinuous innovations. It means that innovations can be characterized by a certain level of ambiguity, novelty and uncertainty. They are radically different from traditional product development. It is important to understand that the market is constantly changing and that this kind of innovation allows to explore knowledge in a new way thanks to flexibility.

The last key point is in fact the tension created in the company due to the presence of efficiency and flexibility needs in businesses. A balance need to be find between these two types of innovation. It is important because on the one hand, if organizations focus on the efficiency, it can sometimes be an obstacle to innovation. On the other hand more flexible innovation don’t always reach enough effectiveness. Managing these two view will help to have a balance between short term vision and long term vision.

A first implication that companies can learn from this report is the possibility to build entrepreneurial units. By separating their activities, businesses will be able to make both efficiency and flexibility exist in different part of the company. It is necessary to have heterogeneity and that these two concepts coexist in harmony. We can witness here the crucial role of managers because they are the ones able to allow a 2-faces-company to get developed.

Finally, this balance can be done with outsourcing. On the one hand choosing a low-cost oriented outsourcing will lead to more efficiency. On the other hand, working with an innovation oriented subcontractor will improve the company’s flexibility. Depending on what we want for the company we can balance these two types of outsourcing to try to solve the efficiency-flexibility tension present in organization.

Further ref:
Grimpe C., Kaiser U., (2010). Balancing Internal and External Knowledge Acquisition: The Gains and Pains from R&D Outsourcing, Special Issue : Offshoring and outsourcing.

Willcocks, L., & Griffiths, C. (2010). The crucial role of middle management in outsourcing. MIS quarterly executive, 9(3).

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BLIN Laurence, DUBUS Sarah, GILLAIN Jérome, VAN HECKE Julien, VERMEULEN Julien

Moogk, D. R. (2012). Minimum viable product and the importance of experimentation in technology startups. Technology Innovation Management Review, 2(3).

This article is inspired by the book “The lean startup” which proposes a methodology for startups to develop a product in a way that shortens the development cycles. The objective here is to explain a bit further the concept of accelerated learning through experimentation designed to validate the potential of an innovation against some pertinent metrics. In this review, the author…
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This article is inspired by the book “The lean startup” which proposes a methodology for startups to develop a product in a way that shortens the development cycles. The objective here is to explain a bit further the concept of accelerated learning through experimentation designed to validate the potential of an innovation against some pertinent metrics.
In this review, the author seems to think that startups should not spend too much time defining a strategy, developing products, … But rather that, they should focus on quickly getting on the market place to test their idea. The reason for this belief is that, often, startups tend to develop a full product based on the assumption that their product will be embraced. The problem is that developing a full product before testing a concept is risky due to the extreme uncertainty associated with startup operations. Hence, startups need to operate in a way that will provide them with the opportunity to learn while validating their vision.

Out of this article, we were able to highlight three different implications for managers : first, such a manager can use the concept of minimum viable product. To do so, he has to create an incomplete version of a product that could be valued by customers. The next step is to conduct experiments with that MVP and gather feedbacks on its attractiveness. The final phase consists on analyzing and using the collected data to improve the MVP, and start the process all over again. Second, a start-up has to be managed in a way that accelerates this cycle, also called feedback loop, to make the learning procedure faster. Finally, an efficient tool to accelerate this feedback loop is the engine of growth, divided in three parts: the sticky, the viral and the paid engines of growth. They each measure a different aspect of success. The sticky one is related to the retention of clients. The second one concerns the word of mouth. The last one relates to the classic advertisement strategy. Most small companies only focus on one of them but it is yet common for a company to use two or three of them.

However, some limitations are important to point out. The first limitation for companies using MVP is the risk that other companies will overtake them by launching a similar product that better meets consumer needs. A second limitation concerns the consumer’s appreciation of the MVP. If the customer is disappointed, chances are that he will no longer want to consume the product even if it is later improved. Indeed, the first impression is often the most important. Then, another limitation is that MVPs cannot be used in all sectors. As a matter of fact, in some industries, companies need to have an optimal product when it is launched on the market, such as the pharmaceutical or car industry. Finally, the metric that will be used to assess the impact of a MVP has to be well-thought-out. If it just focuses on newly acquired customers, it could bias the assessment because of the disengaged customers that will also be included. It may comes out that, to measure the success of an MVP, clear expectations about the product need to be set up. Ways to implement that could be to measure engagement of customers via apps or a system of signs up. Crowdfunding is also an effective way to measure the demand and the interest of investors in our project.
To go further, we propose the article: “MPV explained: a systematic mapping study on the definition of MVP”. This article can help to keep a critical view on what MVP truly is by comparing different definitions of it. Moreover, the article “Impact of Agile Methodology on Software Development Process” could be interesting in the way that the agile method is closely linked to the MVP.

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Robin Barbiere

Doz, Y. L., & Kosonen, M. (2010). Embedding strategic agility: A leadership agenda for accelerating business model renewal. Long Range Planning, 43(2-3), 370-382

1. Key Insights A. The first concept on which this article focuses is strategic sensitivity. It consists in increasing the awareness of future strategic change. You also must re-describe your business model in a more conceptual manner and not be afraid to discuss strategic matters in a frank way. B. The second crucial notion is related to the leadership unity. This concept is about…
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1. Key Insights
A. The first concept on which this article focuses is strategic sensitivity. It consists in increasing the awareness of future strategic change. You also must re-describe your business model in a more conceptual manner and not be afraid to discuss strategic matters in a frank way.
B. The second crucial notion is related to the leadership unity. This concept is about being able to take fast decisions and to forget a bit about top-down communication. It stands that you must absolutely express clearly your ideas and concerns while being aware of the opinion of any member of the organization. These managerial attitudes could help to find a relevant common ground in the organization’s activities.
C. The third and last key insight titled is resource fluidity and is related to the ability of the organization to change priorities and reallocate resources rapidly to new tasks when needed.
2. Implications
A. The first thing to which, according to us, managers should pay the highest attention, is the importance to find the right target for your organization and once it’s done focus on it. It is often a tough matter to choose a relevant target for the upcoming years. On the one hand, if you are already fulfilling your current customer’s needs, it’s tempting to keep on with them and only adapt your business model in order to increase their satisfaction. On the other hand, it’s likely that you spot new customer opportunities which would require you to operate changes in your business model. It is then a big deal for managers to find what strategy will grant the bigger and most interesting target.
B. Our second implication is to set in place a lot of mechanisms such as market research, data analysis, consultancy with innovations experts, etc., in order to foresee how your sector is evolving and to catch up a good position for the future. It is not right to think “my activity is selling CDs”, if a manager was thinking that several years ago, he is probably not on the market anymore. You should rather think “my activity is allowing people to listen to music” and then explore all potential technologies which could be used to listen to music. By thinking this way, you could have caught up with streaming platforms.
3. Limitations
A. The first limitation, which is going by pair with our first implication, is the unforeseen and strict change in mentalities. Even if you did deep research in order to find a relevant segment of customers to focus on and that it is working for you, it can happen that mentalities change radically in a very short time. Therefore, your positioning could be so opposite to those mentality changes that it is nearly impossible for you to meet them on time. We can think about the recent strong interest of young people for ecology and their sense of urgency to act for the planet. Those teenagers weren’t part of the population expected to grow the highest interest in those issues, and that caused issues to some companies.
B. Now our second limitation, linked to our second implication, is that when you work in order to foresee the future of your sector, it is likely that you find multiple paths to follow and that you have to make a decision. Today, banks could have to decide to either optimize their online payments current solutions or to invest a lot in cryptocurrencies, without knowing what will work.
Further references
A. (Article) Chesbourgh, H. (2010) Business Model Innovation: Opportunities and Barriers, Long Range Planning, 43(2-3), 354-363.
B. (Article) Smith, W.K., Binns, A., Tushman, M.L. (2010). Complex Business Models: Managing Strategic Paradoxes Simultaneously, Long Range Planning, 43(2-3), 448-461.
C. (Video) Business Model Innovation – The secret behind Amazon, Spotify and Tinder success (2017).

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