How two Japanese high‐tech companies achieved rapid innovation via strategic community networks

Mitsuru Kodama (Professor of Information and Management in the College of Commerce and Graduate School of Business Administration at Nihon University, Tokyo. E‐mail: kodama@bus.nihon‐u.ac.jp His research interests include innovation, organizational learning, knowledge management, and organizational structure.)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Publication date: 1 December 2005

Abstract

Purpose

To produce rapid innovation, Japanese companies have learned to manage strategic communities for new product development. These communities require the merging and integration of different technologies and the coordination of relationships among all levels of management, alliance partners, and customers.

Design/methodology/approach

Through case studies of two Japanese companies, the author examines the successful new product development process practised by these strategic communities and their networks.

Findings

As the cases reveal, strategic teams at each company – consisting mainly of cross‐functional middle managers from a number of business divisions – formed strategic communities inside and outside the companies that included customers, and then formed networks that transcended the strategic communities' boundaries. In record time, strategic community leaders enabled companies to build new business models aimed at customers and then achieve successful new product development.

Research limitations/implications

Two case studies are reported on. The author was directly involved in one of them.

Practical implications

As this research indicates, to successfully innovate, companies may need to form strategic communities that are not tied to existing organizational structures or cultures. Superior core technology in the leading‐edge high‐tech fields of IT and e‐commerce continues to spread throughout the world and undergo dramatic changes. Innovative companies that need to establish competitive advantage in the network economy must not try to retain full control over innovative processes under the conditions of conventional hierarchical mechanisms and closed autonomous systems. In other words, companies will from now on probably increasingly require a management that can use networked strategic communities to synthesize superior knowledge that is open and spread out both inside and outside the organization, including customers.

Originality/value

Companies will from now on probably increasingly require a management that can use networked strategic communities to synthesize superior knowledge that is open and spread out both inside and outside the organization, including customers.

Keywords

Citation

Kodama, M. (2005), "How two Japanese high‐tech companies achieved rapid innovation via strategic community networks", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 39-47. https://doi.org/10.1108/10878570510631657

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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