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The performance-improving benefits of a radical innovation initiative

Jacob Brix (Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture (ICOA) & AU Herning, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Lois S. Peters (Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, USA)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to inquire into the question: to what extent does the process of establishing radical innovation proposals identify new potential for improved performance? The goal is to determine the types of early stage concepts that are developed, their potential performance impact on the existing business and their potential value to the organization ex ante decision making with respect to choice of projects to pursue.


The authors apply a participatory case study approach combined with a content analysis of data from an idea management system that was utilized by the case organization. The authors build new empirically based theory on the direct and indirect value that emerges by creating new potential concepts to the innovation stream of an existing company.


The authors conclude that three types of performance-improving activities are developed to be exploited during opportunity recognition and concept development, through a disciplined approach to uncovering potential RI projects. These concern existing products and production, as well as the conceptualization of new products to the organization, market and world.

Practical implications

Approaching high uncertainty projects in a disciplined manner can be beneficial to an organization, since knowledge that is directly exploitable to improve performance is identified during the exploration process.


The paper is original since the authors treat the study of innovation as an independent variable. The authors apply a theory-building approach based on empirical evidence that was collected in a real life setting and not in a business school setup. The findings are novel because the authors examine the potential value of radical innovation processes ex ante realization and decision making. Hence, the authors examine what happens before the archetypical performance measurements of realized innovation projects can be utilized to verdict the success or failure.



Brix, J. and Peters, L.S. (2015), "The performance-improving benefits of a radical innovation initiative", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 64 No. 3, pp. 356-376.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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