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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2021

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

The aim of this paper is to present systematically a variety of benefits from innovating in response to an economic crisis.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to present systematically a variety of benefits from innovating in response to an economic crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper that draws on prior conceptual and empirical studies, especially the innovation-based view of firm performance.

Findings

Many firms have cut their innovation expenditures in response to the COVID-19 crisis. However, the financial crisis in 2008/2009 has shown that these short-term cost savings may have severely negative consequences on competitiveness. Several innovation examples from the crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic further indicate that companies may benefit from a variety of first-order innovations, which go considerably beyond product development. Consequently, researchers and executives need to consider the variety of innovation types beyond product development, and they further need to emphasize second-order innovations, which describe the dynamic transformation of innovation management.

Originality/value

Academics and practitioners need to put specific attention to the transformation of innovation processes at the beginning of a crisis because firms may have to redesign their innovation processes. This dynamic reconfiguration and realignment of innovation processes further is essential again if a crisis continues for a longer period, such as the crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. For example, if a company currently does not respond to relevant trends, its competitive position will deteriorate because other companies will enter the market. If firms can afford to continue or strengthen the innovation activities, they may profit substantially after the crisis.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 July 2021

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

This paper aims to underscore major opportunities for shared value innovation based on data management efficiency, which has often been overlooked so far. By integrating…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to underscore major opportunities for shared value innovation based on data management efficiency, which has often been overlooked so far. By integrating prior research about digital transformation, shared value creation, entrepreneurial marketing and the innovation-based view of firm performance, it addresses a major gap in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The innovation-based arguments illustrate how efficient data management may lead to different types of innovation, which provide opportunities for growth and efficiency gains after the coronavirus pandemic.

Findings

Many companies’ digitalization programs have concentrated on strengthening the efficiency of current business processes. Thus, these initiatives have contributed to the efficiency of traditional analog activities by using data and smart algorithms. In contrast, the efficiency of the underlying data management was largely neglected, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted its importance. To overcome the limited emphasis on sustainability and efficiency in the digital context, this paper focuses on data management efficiency. After detailing this concept, it is linked to the growing literature about creating shared value, and a process segmentation for implementing shared value innovations in the field of digital efficiency is developed.

Originality/value

The paper extends research into digital transformation by emphasizing that the distinction of effectiveness and efficiency is as relevant in the digital context as in the traditional analog environment. It further provides new insights into creating shared value because it increases the awareness of researchers and managers to consider data management efficiency as a basis for shared value innovation with positive effects on the triple bottom line. The paper also contributes to entrepreneurial marketing research because data management efficiency provides significant opportunities for entrepreneurs, startup firms and innovators in established organizations to develop entirely new markets based on new services, solutions and business models. Finally, the paper deepens the understanding of the innovation-based view of firm performance.

Article
Publication date: 13 August 2021

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

This paper is a step toward a sustainability-based view of firm performance, which focuses on how companies may achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in a circular…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper is a step toward a sustainability-based view of firm performance, which focuses on how companies may achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in a circular economy that is increasingly dominated by sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual research paper, which provides a coherent basis for the diverse literature about sustainability, corporate social responsibility, creating shared value, shared value innovation, sustainable design and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Findings

The paper complements extant reviews and dynamic frameworks, such as the natural resource-based view and the innovation-based approach, to understand how firms may profit from sustainability in their business ecosystems with multiple stakeholders concerning the triple bottom line beyond financial performance. A firm’s sustainability architecture at multiple organizational levels includes interdependent components reflecting environmental, social and economic sustainability, which enable firms to achieve more value and/or do less harm. The intertemporal renewal of this architecture and its interdependencies with non-sustainability components highlight the dynamics of sustainability transformations for understanding the sustainability–performance relationship.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to sustainability research by developing a conceptual framework, which may be a basis for integrating the variety of management-related sustainability research. It further adds to research into competitive advantage by clarifying how firms may profit from sustainability. Moreover, the conceptual framework contributes to business ecosystem research because it considers internal factors in an organization as well as external factors in a firm’s environment. Finally, this paper offers new insights into strategy dynamics because the intertemporal perspective of changing a firm’s sustainability architecture underscores the need for continuous sustainability transformations.

Details

Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-425X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 December 2021

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

This paper develops the concept of positive sustainability or positainability to go beyond many leaders’ traditional understanding of sustainability as primarily avoiding…

112

Abstract

Purpose

This paper develops the concept of positive sustainability or positainability to go beyond many leaders’ traditional understanding of sustainability as primarily avoiding harm. Rather, executives need to embrace a positive perspective in terms of doing good and creating value in a firm’s core business as the next level of sustainability management. Positive sustainability is defined as the combination of doing good and avoiding bad to arrive at innovative solutions for achieving a “net positive impact” in the core business rather than merely targeting “no net loss” by reducing harm for the environment and society.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper with an example, and it relies on prior insights from related research fields, including the sustainable development goals, corporate social responsibility, creating shared value, positive psychology, social entrepreneurship and social innovation.

Findings

Many organizations have recently launched sustainability initiatives, which often focus on achieving efficiency gains, for example, by reducing power consumption to lower carbon emissions in the face of climate change and to simultaneously save costs. In future competition, however, avoiding unsustainability in the core business and potentially doing good in separate social responsibility programs will not be enough. Furthermore, a focus on “quick win” efficiency gains may limit a more fundamental transformation, which is needed in many firms. There is a massive shift in consumer expectations, especially among younger generations, concerning firms’ active contribution to solving environmental and social challenges. Consistent with positive psychology, these market shifts require a positive perspective in terms of doing good in the core business.

Originality/value

The concept of positive sustainability has major implications for innovation, transformation and communications management. Even those firms that view themselves as leaders hardly realize the opportunities from positive sustainability. By developing innovative solutions, products and services, companies may positively contribute to the environment and society. In the medium to long term, this positive impact will often exceed the short-term benefits of efficiency-centered programs. Most firms and leaders will simply have no choice but to embrace a “net positive impact” because customers strongly expect companies to take action in terms of positive sustainability.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 September 2020

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

The paper aims to present key insights for achieving a sustainable competitive advantage from implementing data analytics solutions and artificial intelligence (AI).

1089

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to present key insights for achieving a sustainable competitive advantage from implementing data analytics solutions and artificial intelligence (AI).

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper builds on prior empirical and conceptual research, and it offers anecdotal evidence from a best-practice case study of Liverpool Football Club.

Findings

Beyond the well-known companies in profiting from AI, such as Amazon, this paper presents a surprising best-practice example for achieving a competitive advantage from combining data analytics and AI with human expertise. Liverpool Football Club is a leading soccer club from England, and it has experienced a major revival in terms of sporting success and financial performance in recent years. The club’s emphasis on data analytics and AI only contributed to this impressive evolution when it was complemented with the emotional intelligence and people skills of its present manager Juergen Klopp. Along with new conceptual arguments, this example of integrated intelligence offers important insights for managers and executives in companies from many industries – far beyond sports management.

Originality/value

The conceptual arguments and case example illustrate that the competitive benefits of implementing standardized AI solutions in an isolated way will often be relatively limited. Many AI solutions will be standardized in the near future, and they may easily be applied by many firms. Thus, even those companies that are considered as AI pioneers may not be able to sustain their competitive advantage unless they develop an integrated intelligence architecture, which combines human and AI. This integration of data analytics and AI with the human intelligence and expertise of a firm’s employees offers the basis for a sustainable advantage because it is difficult to match for competitors. Thus, the paper offers new theoretical insights and direct managerial implications with regard to profiting from AI and data analytics.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 43 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 October 2018

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

The purpose of this paper is to develop a meta-ranking of the world’s most innovative firms, which underscores the importance of external perceptions of innovativeness and…

3132

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a meta-ranking of the world’s most innovative firms, which underscores the importance of external perceptions of innovativeness and of an innovation-based view on firm performance, including product, service, process, business model, management and organizational innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an exploratory empirical paper, which integrates the results of five rankings of the world’s most innovative companies.

Findings

The five innovation rankings include a variety of companies based on different methods and strategic focus. This variety underscores the importance of a meta-ranking, whose multiple aggregation methods lead to consistent results. Only the following 11 companies are mentioned in at least three rankings, leading to a list of the 11 most innovative companies in the world: Amazon, Apple, Tencent, Google/Alphabet, Netflix, SpaceX, Tesla, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and General Electric. Overall, the meta-ranking is dominated by US companies from various industries with firms from China gaining importance.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to research into innovation antecedents and consequences by illustrating the importance of innovation perceptions. The meta-ranking highlights the need for pursuing different types of innovation, following the innovation-based view on firm performance with first-order and second-order innovations. Moreover, the results deepen our understanding of digital transformation and of capturing value from innovation in the digital economy because a considerable portion of the leading innovators has a business model emphasizing artificial intelligence and digital platforms, which have led to the generation of new and to the disruption of established markets.

Details

Journal of Strategy and Management, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-425X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 October 2018

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

The purpose of this paper is to underscore the need for developing a meta-intelligence in companies based on a conceptual framework for combining artificial and human intelligence.

2532

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to underscore the need for developing a meta-intelligence in companies based on a conceptual framework for combining artificial and human intelligence.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper, which draws on the insights from extant theoretical and empirical research.

Findings

In light of a growing trend towards artificial intelligence (AI), most companies face substantial difficulties, which often derive from an excessive emphasis on merely replacing human intelligence by means of AI. To capture the complementary benefits of artificial and human intelligence beyond mere cost savings, firms do not only need to enhance their advanced analytics while continuing to develop their human intelligence. Rather, they additionally need a meta-intelligence for transforming their intelligence architecture in line with corporate strategy. Consequently, the firms need intelligence3 – comprising AI, human intelligence and the meta-intelligence.

Originality/value

The new concept of a meta-intelligence for renewing and recombining artificial and human intelligence helps to reconcile diverse findings in prior research. Without this meta-intelligence, most AI initiatives will be isolated endeavors, which may have positive effects but likely will not live up to the expectations.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 41 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 June 2019

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

The purpose of this paper is to present paradoxical employee attitudes towards interacting with artificial intelligence (AI).

2352

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present paradoxical employee attitudes towards interacting with artificial intelligence (AI).

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper, which builds on prior research, especially on the widely accepted notion of not-invented-here attitudes in technology adoption.

Findings

Many companies experience barriers in implementing AI owing to negative attitudes among their employees. This paper develops the concept of no-human-interaction attitudes, which describe employees’ preference to collaborate with real humans rather than having virtual colleagues. If they perceive a benefit from voluntarily using AI, however, many employees exhibit positive attitudes, leading to the concept of intelligent-automation attitudes. Jointly, these attitudes lead to the paradox that the same persons may have positive or negative attitudes to AI, depending on the particular situation. Firms need to address these attitudes because the interface of human and AI will be a key driver of competitive advantage in the future.

Originality/value

The new concepts of negative and positive employee attitudes contribute to our understanding of firms’ success and problems in implementing AI. Moreover, the paradox of negative and positive attitudes among the same employees helps to reconcile partly diverging findings in extant studies. A thorough understanding of the roots of these employee attitudes, along with several examples, further provides immediate starting points for actively influencing these attitudes in practice.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 September 2016

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

This paper aims to suggest a procedure for successfully transforming a firm’s innovation processes in a systematic way.

1469

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to suggest a procedure for successfully transforming a firm’s innovation processes in a systematic way.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper, which draws on prior academic and practitioner papers.

Findings

Changes in a firm’s environment, such as new technological trends or customer needs, regularly call for the dynamic renewal of a firm’s innovation processes. Nonetheless, most firms proceed in a surprisingly unsystematic way if they transform their innovation processes. This approach contrasts with the systematic innovation processes that many firms have established to manage their product development from initial idea to final market launch.

Originality/value

To overcome this discrepancy, this paper distinguishes reconfiguration and realignment challenges in the transformation of a firm’s innovation processes. These different activities are illustrated with the example of transforming firms’ innovation processes towards open innovation. Furthermore, a five-step procedure is suggested to ease implementation. On this basis, implications for managers are discussed with respect to proficiently adapting their firms’ innovation processes over time.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 July 2016

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

This paper aims to suggest the framework of shared management, which comprises six major principles. These principles indicate that essential strategy guidelines of firms…

1711

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to suggest the framework of shared management, which comprises six major principles. These principles indicate that essential strategy guidelines of firms have been transformed.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper, which draws on recent management innovations and transformations of management practices. Thus, the paper builds on prior academic and practitioner contributions.

Findings

Management recently has become more SHARED, i.e. sustainable, holistic, analytical, relational, entrepreneurial and dynamic. Each of these principles covers one central dimension of management that has recently been affected by a new logic of sharing. Real-life examples of selected companies are given, and many other firms’ managerial challenges in applying and profiting from these principles are described.

Originality/value

The six principles indicate that the idea of sharing applies to multiple facets of management, which challenge conventional strategy wisdom. They play a particularly important role in a sharing economy, which involves the collaborative production and consumption of goods and services by multiple persons and organizations. Altogether, the principles provide the basis for the shared management framework, which may serve as a step toward an up-to-date picture and realistic guideline for today’s management in many organizations.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 37 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

1 – 10 of 38