Advancing Research on Innovation Management

Innovation Management studies how organizations bring innovations to life successfully. A successful innovation involves all actions needed to generate creative ideas and to turn these into attractive new products, services, and business models. The Innovation Management group at RSM is a team composed of several ambitious international faculty whose research focuses on idea management, leadership in innovation, control of innovation projects, standardization and innovation strategies. We also execute large research projects in collaboration with leading organizations on sustainable innovation and on creative industries. Our research is often empirical, but quantitative modelling and qualitative methods are also applied. Doctoral students can choose to join the projects described below or elaborate their own PhD project.

Keywords

Innovation, Creativity, Idea management, Co-creation, Project management, Complex systems, Leadership, Strategy, Sustainability

Topic

Idea management - cultivating better ideas: Companies increasingly use idea management programs or crowdsourcing platforms to collect ideas from their employees or from people outside of the organization. However, having many ideas does not automatically mean that one has many good ones. Therefore, the question is how companies can better manage the influx of ideas and help inventors to cultivate high-quality ideas. For instance, is it useful that members of an online community discuss and select ideas? Are certain leadership styles of managers useful so that inventors generate high-quality ideas? Does the network of an idea initiator help to generate better ideas? How does feedback about earlier ideas improve the quality of subsequent ideas? Past studies have mainly focused on the conditions that are conducive to generating more ideas. By better understanding the factors that lead to high-quality ideas, firms can make optimal use of one their most valuable resources: the creativity of their inventors.

Do not hesitate to contact Dirk Deichmann for further information: ddeichmann@rsm.nl.

Leadership in innovation: Innovation, and especially radical innovation, generally starts with a vague and ambiguous idea: an extremely cheap car, a very cool computer, a new way to generate energy, etc. Such ideas are visions of the future, images of how the future could look like. If the founder of the idea is to sell his/her innovation, (s)he should better be good at communicating his/her vision. Even the most promising ideas need to overcome obstacles: people naturally say no, rather than yes, to new endeavors! This is the heart of this topic: How can people communicate visions about innovations most effectively? How can they persuade others that, indeed, it is this innovation that is needed? To some extent, the project aims to investigate a hidden dimension of innovation management: the politics of innovation. Candidates interested in this topic should be willing to do quantitative research in the laboratory or in the field regarding vision communication. Most likely, the theoretical basis of their ideas will come from political science, leadership, and/or social psychology.

Do not hesitate to contact Daan Stam for further information: dstam@rsm.nl. 

Disruptive innovation: Disruptive innovations drastically change the basis of competition and reshape the marketplace. A recent trend also documents so-called “frugal” innovations that focus on consumer needs in developing economies, are subsequently commercialized and disrupt the developed markets. Despite the prevalence of disruptive innovations in business, our knowledge on the drivers and process of disruptive innovations is limited. This project aims to explain why organizations pursue disruptive innovation strategies, and how organizations can better manage their innovation process to foster disruptive innovations. In addition to clear academic contributions, this project will provide invaluable insights to executives in managing disruptive innovations and protecting themselves against disruptive threats.

Do not hesitate to contact Murat Tarakci for further information: tarakci@rsm.nl

Leveraging Managerial Experience for Innovation: In nowadays innovation‐driven economies, employees are viewed as valuable resources as they embody a major portion of the organization knowledge. In general, there is agreement on the role of employee experience in the development of skills required to perform their work. Employees occupying managerial positions are no exception. Recent investigations indicate that managers develop key capabilities based on their work experiences. Digital “gamechangers”, however, are reshaping the innovation landscape and managers now face more and previously unheard of challenges. Despite this new conditions, our knowledge about the relationship among managerial skills developed by means of experience, organizational digital innovation decisions and innovation performance is very limited. Work on this theme would address this issue and develop studies aiming to contribute to our understanding of the role that managerial skills play within the firm’s digital innovation processes and how organizations can use it as a lever to improve the performance of their digital innovation efforts. 

Do not hesitate to contact Juan P. Madiedo for information: madiedomontanez@rsm.nl 

New forms of organizing: With more and more possibilities to communicate and interact, with information storage and exchange not being a bottleneck, the challenges for organizations are changing. It is now possible to organize almost completely through the internet, people can work from home. How does the organization of the 21st (and 22nd) century look like? Part of my research is exploring how new forms of organizing emerge and how we can learn from those new forms. Specifically, what are the chances and limitations of new types of organizing? More importantly, do we need new theory or frameworks to explain these new types? This is incredibly important for the field of innovation, where firms start to open up and collaborate with various other organizations. 

Do not hesitate to contact Helge Klapper for more information: klapper@rms.nl 

Micro-foundations of innovation networks: Recent research has shown that innovation does not “happen” in isolation; it occurs within a relational context in which single individuals and firms collaborate and compete with other actors in broader networks of social interactions. Despite this earlier research, important questions still have to be explored: To what extent do individual people with their idiosyncrasies (demographic features, psychology, and cognition) contribute to construct and shape innovation through the intra-organizational social networks in which they are embedded? What is the role of subunit, firm or industry-level characteristics in affecting the formation and the functioning of innovation networks? In this project, we focus on the micro-foundations of innovation networks. We conduct conceptual and empirical research examining whether intra-organizational networks relate to the generation of innovation; whether the development of these networks is affected by the firm or the larger environment; or whether innovation is developed through the coevolution of individuals in their idiosyncrasies and firms in their differentiated structures. 

Do not hesitate to contact Stefano Tasselli for information: tasselli@rsm.nl 

Personality change and innovation: We live in an age in which people plan, pursue, and experience individual changes that affect career and life trajectories. People improve their educational credentials, change residences, move jobs, switch nationalities, and undergo gender reassignment. All of this is familiar to management researchers. But personality change is only recently emerging in the organizational behavior and management research landscape despite extensive research evidence, practitioner attention and mass-media interest. Management research generally emphasizes the stability of personality structures tends to underestimate the possibility that personality can change. I want to build consensus on the relevance of personality change for research in organizational behavior and manager, with a specific focus on innovation. Research questions of interest include: do people change their personality after a major change in work activities is introduced? How does the use of innovation shape or change psychological variables related to the innovation domain (e.g. openness to experience?) Specifically, I am interested in designing an experimental design in order to assess whether and how personality can change and what are its organizational consequences. 

Do not hesitate to contact Stefano Tasselli for information: tasselli@rsm.nl

Approach

Provided in the introduction to the description of the topic

Required Profile

Candidates applying for a PhD position within this research theme should have a background in management studies, sociology, economics, psychology or engineering. We are looking for candidates with very strong logical, analytical and verbal abilities. Both people with interest in quantitative, qualitative, or experimental research are welcome. The research groups shares methodological rigor with a strong attention to theory development. To that end, candidates preferably have proven expertise and interest in statistical, experimental and/or computational skills, and should be eager to learn new methodological tools.

Expected output

The project output is publication of papers in top tier management journals in innovation, general management, organization, strategy or operations management. These top tier journals are listed on the ERIM’s webpage (http://www.erim.eur.nl/about/erim-journals-list-ejl/) as “STAR” journals.

Cooperation

The Innovation Management group at RSM consists of young and ambitious international faculty who publish in the very top management journals, in collaboration with several renowned international scholars and industry partners. The group has published in leading management journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Operations Management and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and Journal of Product Innovation Management as well as in leading psychological journals of relevance for business such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Annual Review of Psychology and Psychological Science.

The Innovation Management group has strong connections with innovation management academics in pioneering universities. As a testimony to that, our PhDs conducted research visits at for instance NYU Stern, University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota, and Yonsei University in the past. 

In its teaching the group links state-of-the-art management theories with business practice. We also develop training modules for executives concerning business model innovation and new business development. Some organizations that we closely collaborate with for teaching and research include ArcelorMittal, DSM, Microsoft, Philips, Unilever, Shell, European Commission, and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Societal relevance

Innovation is of utmost importance for the performance of firms and economies. Corporate and political leaders consider innovation to be core to the competitive advantage of western industries, when operating both in western and emerging economies. To achieve these results, the proper management of innovation is therefore essential: creativity should be enhanced, new products and services should be brought to the market quickly and effectively, and increasingly the use of new business models serves as a platform to achieve desired results. In our group, each project’s objective is to produce valuable guidelines for executives to increase the innovativeness of their organizations, improve performance and gain competitive advantage

Scientific relevance

All projects aim at advancing our understanding of important aspects of innovation management and to contribute to academic literature. Targeted contributions of each project listed above can be retrieved from the specified contact person.