Alignment of internal and external business & innovation domains

Katz, Bernard (2017-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The concept of strategic alignment, the “golden thread”, lies at the heart of this research. The idea that all available resources are simultaneously attracted by the magnetic pull of a company’s strategy, like a million small compass needles, is both extremely desirable and incredibly difficult for a company to achieve. This dissertation, however, takes the concept of strategic alignment and pulls it and twists it and eventually shapes it so that it may be applied to the highly uncertain and complex environment of the innovation domain. It has been well established, that in the world today, adaptability is a key competitive advantage. Innovation has long been seen as a differentiator in company competitiveness. However, researchers and companies continue to struggle with the dichotomy between the open, unstructured and creative nature of innovation and the need to maximise the opportunity for innovation success through structure. The structuring of innovation activities was, for a long time, a controversial issue with the idea that strategy kills innovation being a widely expressed concern. Today, the value of an Innovation Strategy, which governs the innovation activities in a company, is widely accepted. This dissertation aims to contribute to the ongoing quest for a structured approach to innovation without harming the essence of innovation, human ingenuity. In working towards achieving this aim the Strategic Alignment Model was recognised as a wellestablished, logical and elegant model to manage the alignment between the overall business domain and a support function domain. Through analysis of the strategic alignment and innovation management literature, the Strategic Alignment Model was adapted to represent the alignment between the business and innovation domains. The adapted model is called the innovation Strategic Alignment Model (iSAM). The iSAM is a unique framework which integrates concepts from the field innovation management such as innovation scope, innovation maturity, innovation governance and innovation models with a well-established strategic alignment approach. No other model in the identified literature provided this link between these two research fields. The structure and content of iSAM was validated with a panel of experts and their feedback is included in various sections of the dissertation. The implementation of the iSAM in a real company requires a structured implementation framework. Such a framework is presented in this dissertation and both the iSAM and the implementation framework are tested through a multi-year case study. A key consideration is that it was not the aim of the case study to generalise the results for other industries or company types, but rather to demonstrate how such a model may be used to understand the alignment between the innovation and business domains and whether or not the model can be practically applied in order to generate alignment recommendations for a real company. Feedback from senior managers in the focus company was that the iSAM made the innovation landscape clearer and that through iSAM a greater understanding of the components of an Innovation Strategy was gained. This dissertation concludes with the summary of findings from the expert validation exercise and the multi-year case study. There seemed to be a general consensus amongst the experts that the iSAM does provide a valuable framework for Innovation Strategy alignment and that the model comprehensively addresses a critical issue facing companies. The experts also highlighted several areas of improvement and future research. These include: catering for variations in the model based on company size, company type and industry and further empirical evidence for some of the defined relationships in the model. From the case study it was concluded that iSAM provides a simple, clear, common understanding of the components involved in Innovation Strategy and innovation alignment, the implementation framework provides practical guidance and applicable tools to assist in determining innovation alignment and in following a change pathway to achieve alignment and the final recommendations provide clear instructions on what a company needs to do in order to ensure alignment is achieved. The case study also reveals several interesting challenges. These include: ensuring the entire management team engages with the model and the implementation approach and ensuring the applicability of the model for a specific company. Finally,it is the hope of the author that this dissertation initiates another small twig, which over time and through the work of other researchers in the field, contributes to the growing knowledge in the innovation domain.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die konsep van strategiese belyning is die "goue draad" en dus die kern byrae van hierdie navorsing. Die idee dat alle beskikbare hulpbronne gesamentlik aangetrek of belyn word deur die “magnetiese” aantrekkingskrag van 'n maatskappy se strategie (soos 'n miljoen klein kompas naalde), is beslis wenslik, maar terselfdertyd ook ‘n groot uitdaging vir vir die ondernemig. Hierdie verhandeling beskou die konsep van strategiese belyning en wysig en omvorm dit sodat dit toegepas kan word in die onseker en komplekse omgewing van innovasie. Dit word algemeen aanvaar dat aanpasbaarheid in die onderneming 'n belangrike mededingende voordeel bied. Innovasie word lank reeds beskou as 'n onderskeidende faktor in die mededingendheid van ‘n maatskappy. Navorsers en maatskappye worstel egter steeds met die digotomie tussen die oop, ongestruktureerde en kreatiewe aard van innovasie en die behoefte om die geleentheid vir innovasiesukses te maksimeer deur meer struktuur daaraan te verskaf. Die strukturering van innovasie aktiwiteite is lank reeds 'n omstrede kwessie met die redelik wye persepsie dat strategie innovasie smoor of inperk. Vandag word die waarde van 'n Innovasie Strategie, wat die innovasie aktiwiteite in 'n maatskappy rig, egter veel meer algemeen aanvaar. Hierdie verhandeling dra by tot die voortgesette soeke na 'n gestruktureerde benadering tot innovasie sonder inperking van die kern van innovasie, naamlik menslike vindingrykheid. Ten einde hierdie doelwit te bereik is die Strategiese Belyningsmodel geïdentifiseer as 'n goed gevestigde, logiese en elegante model om die belyning tussen die totale besigheidsdomein en 'n ondersteuningsfunksie domein te bestuur. Deur analise van die strategiese belyning en innovasiebestuur literatuur, is die Strategiese Belyningsmodel aangepas om die belyning tussen die besigheid en innovasie domeine te vervat. Die aangepaste model staan bekend as die innovasie Strategiese Belyningsmodel (iSBM). Die iSBM is 'n unieke raamwerk wat konsepte uit die veld van innovasiebestuur soos innovasie omvang, innovasie volwassenheid, innovasie bestuur en innovasie modelle, met 'n goed gevestigde strategiese belyning benadering te integreer. Die struktuur en inhoud van iSBM is gevalideer met 'n paneel van kundiges en hul terugvoer is ingesluit in verskillende afdelings van hierdie verhandeling. Die implementering van die iSBM in 'n werklike maatskappy vereis 'n gestruktureerde implementerings raamwerk. So 'n raamwerk word in hierdie verhandeling aangebied en beide die iSBM en die implementeringsraamwerk word getoets deur 'n multi-jaar gevallestudie. 'n Belangrike oorweging van die gevallestudie was nie om die resultate vir ander nywerhede of tipes maatskappye te veralgemeen nie, maar eerder om te demonstreer hoe so 'n model kan gebruik word om die verband tussen die innovasie en besigheidsareas te verstaan en te bepaal of die model prakties toegepas kan word om belyning aanbevelings vir 'n werklike maatskappy te ontwikkel. Die verhandeling word afgesluit met ‘n opsomming van die bevindinge van die deskundige valideringoefening en die multi-jaar gevallestudie. Daar blyk algemene konsensus te wees onder die innovasie deskundiges wat deelgeneem het aan hierdie studie dat die iSBM ʼn waardevolle raamwerk vir Innovasiestrategie belyning verskaf, en dat die model breedvoerig ʼn baie belangrike kwessie wat maatskappye in die gesig staar aanspreek. Die kundiges het ook verskeie verbeteringsareas aangedui wat ʼn aanduiding is vir verdere toekomstige navorsing. Hierdie areas sluit in : om voorsiening te maak in die model vir variasies gebaseer op maatskappy grootte, tipe, en industrie, sowel as verdere empiriese bewyse vir sekere van die verwantskappe gedefinieer in die model. Die gevallestudie het aangedui dat die iSBM ʼn eenvoudige, duidelike en gemeenskaplike verstaan van die komponente van ʼn innovasie strategie en innovasie belyning verskaf. Dit dui ook aan dat die implementeringsraamwerk praktiese riglyne en toepaslike gereedskap verskaf om innovasie belyning te bepaal sowel as ʼn veranderingsroete te volg om belyning te bewerkstellig. Die finale aanbevelings van die raamwerk verskaf ook duidelike instruksies oor wat ʼn maatskappy behoort te doen om te verseker dat belyning bereik is. Die gevallestudie dui ook verskeie interessante uitdagings aan, naamlik die versekering dat die hele bestuurspan deelneem aan die model en die implementerings benadering, sowel as die versekering van die toepaslikheid van die model vir ʼn spesifieke maatskappy. Ten slotte, dit is die hoop van die skrywer dat hierdie verhandeling ‘n nuwe navorsingsarea inisieer, wat met verloop van tyd en deur die werk van ander navorsers in die veld, sal bydra tot die groeiende kennis in die innovasie domein.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101259
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