Cooling off innovation hotspots: smaller businesses need to look wide and deep

Kanhaiya Kumar Sinha, Chad Saunders, Simon Oliver Raby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to provide evidence-based managerial advice for identifying, developing and managing a broad-based innovation system for organizations to reap optimal performance outcomes. Design/methodology/approach: The general review is based upon large-scale peer-reviewed academic studies of innovation practices in organizations and their performance outcomes and synthesized here through two illustrative case studies. The first case deals with Brightsquid Secure Communications as they expanded their product-focused innovation practices to include broad-based organizational improvements, while the second case focuses on Trimet Building Products and their use of broad-based innovation to turn around declining revenue. Findings: Using the SME context, this study outlines an innovation management model that highlights the importance of leadership attention on organization-wide innovation and the interdependence of investments across functions.[AQ2] To enhance their performance, SMEs must implement broad learning programs across the organization that provides formal and informal cross-training and takes a cross-functional approach to innovation and problem-solving. Originality/value: Reviewing and integrating the literature on different innovation types and outcomes, this study proposes a novel broad-based innovation model that guides firms that overemphasize improvements within a single function. Further, drawing on the learning literature, this paper recommends an organizational learning and collaboration model to achieve organization-wide innovation for optimal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-362
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Strategy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 21 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Broad-based innovation
  • Learning
  • Performance
  • SME
  • Value chain


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