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In business terms, the ultimate purpose of innovation is to generate profitable growth. However, in mature industrial technology segments, endeavours of innovation often…
In business terms, the ultimate purpose of innovation is to generate profitable growth. However, in mature industrial technology segments, endeavours of innovation often result merely in the maintenance of market share and rarely in net lasting growth. Expectations from the market for radical changes are unusual, and firms tend to focus on short term exploitation activities. In this environment, the creation of significant innovations with value that cannot be rapidly contested by competitors is a major challenge. Based on the analysis of innovation management systems of six European companies operating in mature technology segments, this paper presents a framework based on multi-case study research that links key components of the innovation system to growth performance. The analysis of innovation drivers is structured with constituent factors of culture, leadership, resources, and processes. The article concludes with a proposal of an innovation system construct that has shown to be effective to guide the best companies to break through the exploitation glass ceiling and create new uncontested growth streams.