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From Invention Disclosures to Innovation - Challenges in Transforming Practice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2019


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Adopting design thinking and innovation-oriented approaches in organizations is crucial but not always simple. New practices of collaboration, user-orientedness and exploration require a compatible culture to be successfully integrated into product development. This paper presents a case study based on 12 interviews of employees and managers in a large Finland-based technology company, introducing new ways of working to product development. Silos, focusing on inventions, and a lack of resources for exploration were highlighted as key challenges in transitioning from incremental development to innovations. Perhaps counterintuitively, introducing new ways of working requiring a collaborative culture - the most widely recognized shortcoming in the current practice in the case - were best received, and support and feedback could be found for pilot projects in these arenas. When the gap between the practice and culture was smaller, change efforts could perhaps be more challenging, as there was less of a consensus on a need to change. The results suggest than developers need not automatically shy away from piloting new ways of working even when existing cultures are not compatible.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
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