A corporate system for continuous innovation: the case of Google Inc.

Annika Steiber (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Sverker Alänge (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Publication date: 26 April 2013

Abstract

Purpose

History is full of companies that were once innovative leaders but lost their innovative ability. The purpose of this paper is to explore, from a firm‐level perspective, organizational characteristics for continuous innovation in rapidly changing industries.

Design/methodology/approach

Findings from 28 interviews at Google Inc., are compared to previous research on organizational characteristics for continuous innovation.

Findings

Google's organization can be viewed as a dynamic and open corporate system for continuous innovation, involving the entire organization and supported by an innovation‐oriented and change‐prone top management and board. The relative importance of eight organizational characteristics in this corporate system is elaborated upon.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need for empirical research contributing to the development of a more comprehensive analytical framework for continuous innovation, including the role of culture and selection/facilitation of self‐organizing individuals in innovation processes; and to study how to organize for both continuous innovation and continuous improvements.

Practical implications

The importance of factors such as culture and the selection of individuals, identified in the empirical study, needs to be considered by managers, and might influence their understanding of how to sustain continuous innovation over time.

Originality/value

This paper provides, from a firm‐level perspective and based on a unique access to empirical data, increased understanding of organizational characteristics conducive to continuous innovation in rapidly changing industries, and highlights the importance of characteristics that received less emphasis in previous research literature.

Keywords

Citation

Steiber, A. and Alänge, S. (2013), "A corporate system for continuous innovation: the case of Google Inc.", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 243-264. https://doi.org/10.1108/14601061311324566

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.