Research spotlight: Managing innovation in high-tech companies

Innovation does not come naturally to organisations and this makes it difficult. Innovation is not just about introducing new or better products. High technology companies are constantly on the edge in the face of ‘radical innovation’ that can revolutionise ideas and create completely new markets. In this context, being the best in the world, at what you do, no longer matters because no one wants to buy your product. A classic example is Kodak and the disappearance of the photographic film market due to digital photography and smart phones.    


The Centre for Technology Innovation and Engagement (C-TIE), led by Professor Krsto Pandza, conducted research into how large high-tech companies engage with emerging technologies and, in particular, how the companies can manage the tension between continuing processes in the same way as they always have and investing in new ones.

As a strategic response, innovation management is becoming increasingly open and requires collaboration among diverse constituencies, such as academia, industry, government and citizens. This complexity is further intensified with the ability of digital technology to create innovative solutions that blur the boundaries between established industrial sectors and produce products and services that bring previously separate user experiences together.

The Complex and Open Innovation for Networked Society (COINS) project is a €1.3m European Horizon 2020 funded project through the European Industrial Doctorate (EID) scheme. The project is designed to develop a new generation of postgraduate researchers to help build economic growth, through knowledge and experience of academia and industry. This is the first EID project that studies managerial and strategic aspects of technology innovation.

A strategic partnership between the University of Leeds and Ericsson AB – a multi-national telecommunications company – the research collaboration will create a sustainable platform for researchers to engage in production of knowledge by investigating challenges for managing processes of complex and open innovation created by advances in digital technology.

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