Innovation is a key driver of firm competitive advantage and profitability, yet the journey of innovative ideas from inception to implementation is often not straightforward. Novel ideas for new products, services or technologies in large corporations are often received with scepticism initially, and may even be discarded by risk-averse senior managers before these ideas have had a chance to develop. In this research theme, we investigate how R&D professionals and managers can initiate and implement breakthrough innovations while building support for their ideas.

In particular, we examine how individuals mobilise their networks to influence key stakeholders to endorse their ideas within the organisation, and how they can divide such influencing efforts with their co-workers. We also explore the effectiveness of individual involvement in bootlegging projects – innovative activities that are initiated by individual researchers and often performed without the formal approval of their managers.

Another stream of research within this theme focuses on the selection process itself and examines how the composition of selection panels can affect the funding of novel R&D projects, and how the feedback received by applicants can have an impact on their subsequent innovative efforts. All the projects in this theme are conducted in collaboration with large multinational companies in the manufacturing and services sector.

Projects and Centres