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Building an Integrative Model for Managing Exploratory Innovation

A Focused Issue on Building New Competences in Dynamic Environments

ISBN: 978-1-78441-275-3, eISBN: 978-1-78441-274-6

Publication date: 27 October 2014



In this paper we develop an integrated model identifying the key factors involved in managing exploratory innovation processes while also maintaining current business models and processes.


We first characterize the problem of innovation as consisting of “the four central problems” organizations face when trying to manage innovation processes (Van de Ven, 1986). We develop an enhanced version of O’Connor’s (2008) Discovery, Incubation and Acceleration (DIA) model by integrating elements of Sanchez’ (2012) theory of architectural isomorphism as well as Markides’ (2008) framework for strategically assessing the benefits of segregation versus integration of innovation processes. We develop and apply our model working with managers in two company contexts to assure the ability of our Integrated Model to identify key organizational and strategic variables that need to be recognized and managed in order to sustain successful exploratory innovation processes.


Reviews of our “Enhanced Integrated Model” with managers in the two companies suggest that our model would help them to recognize and manage key issues that were not addressed adequately in their prior efforts at exploratory innovation.

Research implications and practical implications

Our model building process provides a basic template for other research focused on developing normative management models through case-based research. The specific elements included in our Enhanced Integrated Models should provide managers with a useful model for managing exploratory innovation processes.




This paper draws on research conducted at Copenhagen Business School by Parisha Zarmeen and Vanessa Gina Turri under the supervision of Prof. Ron Sanchez.


Zarmeen, P., Turri, V.G. and Sanchez, R. (2014), "Building an Integrative Model for Managing Exploratory Innovation", A Focused Issue on Building New Competences in Dynamic Environments (Research in Competence-Based Management, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 85-114.



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