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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2021

Ananya Sheth and Joseph Victor Sinfield

Problem specification is a key front-end step in the innovation process. This paper aims to introduce ‘purpose-context’ – a conceptual framework to systematically explore…

Abstract

Purpose

Problem specification is a key front-end step in the innovation process. This paper aims to introduce ‘purpose-context’ – a conceptual framework to systematically explore problem-specification across mapped contexts. The framework’s logic is operationalized by the inherent structure of language – its syntax/grammar, which enables the systematic exploration of problem-specification. The method showcases two approaches to structurally explore the vast textual databases available to us today for problem-specification in innovation science, thereby furthering the pursuit of innovation through its foundational elements.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptualization of the purpose-context framework was guided by logic and the scholarship of integration applied to bodies of work including innovation, design and linguistics. Further, the key elements of the conceptual framework were unpacked and structured using the syntax of language. Two approaches to operationalize the method were developed to illustrate the systematicity of the process. The construct was then validated by using it to systematically specify problems in the technical context of Raman spectroscopy and in the socio-technical context of international development. Overall, this paper is a work of relational scholarship of integration that bridges academic-practitioner gaps.

Findings

The purpose-context framework is well-suited for application in the innovation process with applicability across several abstraction levels. One key contribution is the recognition that a broader problem-specification exercise covering one-one, one-many, many-one, many-many problem-context mappings expands the range of potential solutions (innovations) to address the problem-space. Additionally, the work finds that it is possible to provide structure to the cognitive elements of the innovation process by drawing inspiration from the structure inherent in other cognitive processes such as language (e.g., parts-of-speech, phrase composition). Drawing from language is particularly appropriate as language mediates communication in any collective pursuit of the innovation process and furthermore because a large amount of information exists in textual form. Finally, this paper finds that there is merit in approaching innovation science from its foundational elements – i.e. data, information and knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

While the purpose-context framework is broadly applicable, the methodical approach to provide structure to the front-end cognitive process is ‘one’ fruitful approach. We suspect other approaches exist.

Practical implications

The purpose-context framework is simple in its framing yet provides innovators, scholars and thought leaders, the ability to specify the problem space with greater coverage and precision. Further, in the solution-space, it provides them the ability to choose the breadth of solution scope (e.g. targeted solution addressing a single problem, targeted solution addressing a set of problems, the combination of solutions addressing a single problem and combination of solutions addressing a combination of problems). In addition, by pairing the creative front-end innovation process with machine power, this study provides a formal method to scale-up the coverage of creativity (and potentially that of solutions to those problems) and reduces the chances of missed/blind-spots in problem-specification. Finally, evaluating purpose-contexts leads to ‘capability-contexts’ – a capability-oriented viewpoint informing capability development decisions such as the focus of R&D programs and related resource allocation decisions.

Originality/value

The paper uses logic to connect multiple bodies of research with a goal to provide systematicity to problem-specification – problem-specification, which is an under-addressed part of the innovation process. The use of data to systematically explore problem-space lends it systematicity (repeatability and measurability) and is therefore, valuable to innovation science. The proof-of-concept demonstrates the conversion of concept into a method for practical application.

Details

International Journal of Innovation Science, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-2223

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Ali Mostafavi, Dulcy Abraham and Joseph Sinfield

Due to the growing demand for civil infrastructure, financial innovations are required to close the financing gap. However, a lack of theories has inhibited a complete…

Abstract

Due to the growing demand for civil infrastructure, financial innovations are required to close the financing gap. However, a lack of theories has inhibited a complete understanding and, thus, creation and diffusion of financial innovation. A lack of theory about financial innovations in infrastructure is mainly due to the absence of a framework to conceptualize these innovations. A typology that enables comparison of financial systems and, hence, provide a framework to conceptualize financial innovations is missing in the existing literature. This paper defines innovation in the context of financing, funding and delivery of infrastructure projects and proposes a new typology for conceptualization of the loci and types of financial innovations in infrastructure. The loci of innovations are in risk mitigation, regulation, cash flow, contract, organizational, and capital sub-systems. Types of innovations are classified as either integrated or modular and either sustaining or disruptive. The typology was tested by mapping seven innovations created by the U. S. Federal Highway Administration and diffused into 232 transportation projects between 1994 and 2002. Qualitative comparative analysis was then used to evaluate the diffusion trends of financial innovations in the case studies and to demonstrate the capability of the proposed typology for facilitating theory building in the area of infrastructure financial innovations.

Details

International Journal of Innovation Science, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-2223

Article
Publication date: 18 May 2012

Reviews the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoints practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose

Reviews the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoints practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

Any new enterprise presented to a doubtful audience might well be greeted initially with words such as: “Does it – or can it – really work?” What the skeptics are seeking is a business model, to be shown how the idea, product or service really does work, how it creates value for the company. Many companies can flourish with one or perhaps two models, but where LAN Airlines is able to score over rivals is in having three.

Practical implications:

Provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world's leading organizations.

Social implications

Provides strategic insights and practical thinking that can have a broader social impact.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy‐to‐digest format.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 28 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 September 2012

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

Fierce competition and challenging economic conditions are unwelcome norms of the current business climate. It has therefore become more critical than ever for companies to stand out from the crowd. A typical response is to focus on product development, acquisition, entering new markets or gaining deeper customer insights. Achieving growth by such means is a tried and trusted formula. But the considerable drain on time and resources is something that most organizations can do without. And since there is no guarantee of success, firms are naturally concerned about the sizeable investment required. These uncertainties have prompted greater emphasis on business models. Companies appreciate that creating the right model can prove a swift and cost‐effective method of increasing value.

Practical implications

The paper provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world's leading organizations.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy‐to‐digest format.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 28 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 April 2009

The purpose of this paper is to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.

1366

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

The paper finds that the global nature of business today means that products evolve into commodities much quicker and differentiation becomes even harder to achieve. As a result, companies believe more than ever that innovation holds the key to survival and prosperity. However, innovation obviously poses challenges of its own. Not least is the incessant nature of the process. Any organization with serious ambition to keep competitors at bay must therefore ensure that each breakthrough is quickly followed by another. Those taking their foot off the accelerator can quickly get left behind. There is no doubt that innovation is instinctive behavior within certain companies. Such aptitude does not emerge overnight, however, and won't develop at all unless the right structures are put in place.

Originality/value

The paper provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world's leading organizations.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 25 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 7 November 2008

Craig Henry

594

Abstract

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 36 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1982

Kenneth Pardey

The cardinal point to note here is that the development (and unfortunately the likely potential) of area policy is intimately related to the actual character of British…

Abstract

The cardinal point to note here is that the development (and unfortunately the likely potential) of area policy is intimately related to the actual character of British social policy. Whilst area policy has been strongly influenced by Pigou's welfare economics, by the rise of scientific management in the delivery of social services (cf Jaques 1976; Whittington and Bellamy 1979), by the accompanying development of operational analyses and by the creation of social economics (see Pigou 1938; Sandford 1977), social policy continues to be enmeshed with the flavours of Benthamite utilitatianism and Social Darwinism (see, above all, the Beveridge Report 1942; Booth 1889; Rowntree 1922, 1946; Webb 1926). Consequently, for their entire history area policies have been coloured by the principles of a national minimum for the many and giving poorer areas a hand up, rather than a hand out. The preceived need to save money (C.S.E. State Apparatus and Expenditure Group 1979; Klein 1974) and the (supposed) ennobling effects of self help have been the twin marching orders for area policy for decades. Private industry is inadvertently called upon to plug the resulting gaps in public provision. The conjunction of a reluctant state and a meandering private sector has fashioned the decaying urban areas of today. Whilst a large degree of party politics and commitment has characterised the general debate over the removal of poverty (Holman 1973; MacGregor 1981), this has for the most part bypassed the ‘marginal’ poorer areas (cf Green forthcoming). Their inhabitants are not usually numerically significant enough to sway general, party policies (cf Boulding 1967) and the problems of most notably the inner cities has been underplayed.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Article
Publication date: 14 February 2020

Paul J.H. Schoemaker, George S. Day and Govi Rao

The case of Philips Lighting shows how management coped with the ambiguous but real threats and opportunities of a highly disruptive emerging technology using three…

407

Abstract

Purpose

The case of Philips Lighting shows how management coped with the ambiguous but real threats and opportunities of a highly disruptive emerging technology using three insight-producing approaches: 10; 10;∙9; Probe and learn widely. 10;∙9; Explore creative hypotheses. 10;∙9; Develop multiple scenarios. 10;

Design/methodology/approach

The case shows how leadership teams can effectively respond when confronted with ambiguous but potentially disruptive signals.

Findings

When assessing a potential digital disruption, leaders can begin by probing the latent needs of current as well as potential customers more thoroughly. Once ‘probe and learn’ approaches have surfaced new perspectives and strategic possibilities, the organization should generate context-expanding hypotheses about the meaning and consequences of various weak signals.

Practical implications

A limited number of disparate scenarios, clearly organized around a few pivotal uncertainties, provide leaders with a strategic context for interpreting ambiguous signals.

Originality/value

In the current VUCA environmen, when turbulence is high or major disruption is feared, all leaders need to examine at least one scenario that directly challenges the organization’s current mindset.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Book part
Publication date: 2 December 2019

Charles Marley

Abstract

Details

Problematising Young People
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-896-8

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1985

Volume 17 Number 3 of the Arkansas Business and Economic Review contains an article by Lynn Godkin entitled “Anticipated Job Satisfaction: Attitudinal Bias Among Women”…

Abstract

Volume 17 Number 3 of the Arkansas Business and Economic Review contains an article by Lynn Godkin entitled “Anticipated Job Satisfaction: Attitudinal Bias Among Women”. The author queried a sample of 253 women (enrolled in courses offered by a college of business) concerning how satisfied they expected to be with various aspects of their initial jobs following graduation. It was found that married women had decidedly different feelings about particular aspects of their jobs than those expressed by unmarried women. While satisfaction with specific job factors did not move with age, it did vary within age groups. Further, it was determined that as the amount of cumulative full‐time work experience increased so did the level of expected satisfaction increase with respect to freedom in the work place and reward based on merit or productivity.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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