The Innovation Gap

1685 Words 7 Pages
Understanding the Innovation Gap
“How Leaders Can Close the Innovation Gap” is an article by Claude Legrand and David S. Weiss published in the Ivey Business Journal, which claims to offer “concise commentaries” and “productivity-enhancing management advice” (Ivey Business Journal). However, the article does not echo the professionalism expected from any business journal, and would more aptly be seen as a passable entry on a blogging website. While four “enablers” for innovation are suggested, they are more akin to buzzwords rather than defining pillars to facilitate innovation in a real workplace. The article offers vague suggestions without real industry evidence, and completely misses the reality that companies face. “How Leaders Can Close
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146). It is true that as organizations grow they need to implement a hierarchical structure to control the organization, which in turn prohibits a fast response to external environment. In fact, as organizations grow the functional structure will always be the backbone of efficiency of any large organization. For example, as organizations expand from entrepreneurial to larger organizations they no longer can maintain a flat, entrepreneurial structure. However, this does not mean that the growth will stifle innovation. For example, Procter & Gamble is an organization that has a functional structure at its core. However, Procter & Gamble splits into many small organization, which in turn are able to respond quickly to fast changing environment and be more innovative.
Infusing innovation within the culture is entirely dependent on context, which “How Leaders Can Close the Innovation Gap” excludes. It is crucial to identify where in the organization innovation is appropriate, and how innovation is implemented differently across firm sizes. Legrand and Weiss’ advice would better be substantiated by using Proctor & Gamble’s excellent use of subcultures as an example for knowing where and when innovation is appropriate
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The root assumption of the article is the existence of an innovation gap perceived by leaders within their companies. These assumptions are based on decades’ worth of executive surveys. The survey, created by Legrand’s company Ideaction, outlines the views on innovation and climate of the Canadian economy from the perspective of management and executives (Schulich School of Business). The sample selection process is not outlined in the survey analysis document and consequently, there is no information on the industries that were represented in the data. Innovation is already an ambiguous term, however the applicability of innovation and the need and definition for breakthrough inventions differs across types of firms. A demographic component to the survey could have collected industry information, providing an important control variable to the experiment. The impact of the results could be delineated by industry to show where innovation is a major concern, and perhaps offer suggestions as to why it is not crucial in different sectors. Outlining who wants versus who needs innovation may have clarified the article and assisted in creating a less ambiguous procedural process for companies to follow. Because the survey disregards firm context in its methodology, the article fails to offer concrete and applicable

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