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How to Manage Radical Innovation?


In his article titled “How to Manage Radical Innovation,” Robert Stringer focuses on identifying factors that hinder radical innovation in large organizations, issues that make small companies become a major source of the most radical innovations, and the actions to be done to stimulate and manage innovation in large companies. The major theme of this article is the identification of organizational issues that hinder or encourage radical innovation. Consequently, the article is of immense importance as it provides knowledge on how organizational issues such as structure, culture, size, strategy, retention of talent, and leadership orientation function to interfere or encourage radical innovation.

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Main Highlights

First, the article mostly argues that large companies are unable to become more innovative due to a multiplicity of factors. They include economic and strategic barriers associated with radical innovations, bureaucratic structures and organizational cultures that discourage breakthrough or radical changes, relying too much on internal R&D at the expense of investing in new ideas and technologies, and incapacity of these companies to attract and retain radical innovators due to constricted working environments (Stringer 72-74).

Second, the article suggests that small companies are the source of most radical innovations due to the following factors, such as (1) an open work environment which offers far more opportunity for innovators to satisfy their needs for achievement, (2) little emotional or economic investment in the status quo, (3) concentration of innovative entrepreneurs, and (4) the small size of organizations, which does not only locate them closer to the market but also makes them more agile, less bureaucratic, and more responsive to the unpredictable nature of the commercialization process (Stringer 74-75).

Third, another important issue mentioned in the article is how large corporations can stimulate innovation by engaging in various activities. Such actions may include making breakthrough innovation a strategic and cultural priority, attracting and retaining more creative employees, growing informal project laboratories with the traditional organizations, developing “idea markets” within the company to identify and commercialize radical innovations, and becoming ambidextrous (Stringer 75-79). The last option may be achieved by keeping radical innovators entirely separate from the traditionalists who run the core business and leveraging the radical innovation for the benefit of the whole company (Stringer 75-79).

Fourth, the article illuminates how large corporations can “work from the outside in” to stimulate innovation through (1) experimenting with acquisitions, joint ventures, cooperative ventures, and alliances with external innovative firms, (2) engaging in corporate venturing, (3) working with venture capital, (4) establishing a corporate venture capital fund, and (5) participating in an emerging industry fund (Stringer 79-83).

Lastly, the article effectively demonstrates how the size of the corporation is inversely associated with its growth through innovation, and also why small companies should consider seeking for input from venture capital firms to actualize their radical innovations instead of selling their patents to established corporations (Stringer 71).

There is a marked relatedness between these highlights and the text readings and concepts, particularly in terms of the organizational issues needed to reorganize firms to gain a competitive edge. Indeed, the article and text readings talk about how organizational structure, size, culture, strategy, design, change, employee involvement, and leadership, among other issues, are instrumental in ensuring companies become more innovative and enhance their competitive advantage.

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Overall, the article is instrumental for business students and practitioners interested in developing knowledge and expertise in how organizational issues can be used to encourage and maintain radical innovation. The major lesson is that organizational structure, size, and culture are all important in determining how best to manage and sustain innovation in a particular company. Consequently, this article expands knowledge of how organizations need to be designed to achieve optimal outcomes in spurring innovation and sustaining competitiveness.

Works Cited

Stringer, Robert. “How to Manage Radical Innovation.” California Management Review. 42.4 (2000): 70-88. Print.

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"How to Manage Radical Innovation?" StudyCorgi, 26 Oct. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "How to Manage Radical Innovation?" October 26, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "How to Manage Radical Innovation?" October 26, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "How to Manage Radical Innovation?" October 26, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'How to Manage Radical Innovation'. 26 October.

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