To generate ideas for continuous innovation

Approximate reading time 5-7 minutes. A study investigated the ability to generate ideas for innovations in large organizations. The ability to generate ideas includes management and organizational processes to stimulate, identify, select and implement ideas. The ability to generate ideas is a fundamental ability because it aims to ensure a company’s future survival by choosing ideas and managing the organization to achieve the right resources for the new business areas.Consequently, the ability to generate ideas can be seen as an important part of the widespread and popular concept of dynamic abilities, as they focus on adapting the organization to a dynamic and competitive environment.


To generate ideas


To investigate how this ability is manifested and used in companies, researchers conducted case studies of four Swedish companies. In addition to semi-structured interviews with innovation leaders and R & D managers, the researchers conducted a complete innovation audit at one of the four companies. Interviews were conducted, as well as two online surveys of a large number of employees working with innovation activities. Observations from the interviews and innovation audits were presented to representatives of companies on a number of occasions. The reason was for validation and constructive feedback.


To generate ideas

The results from the study show that there are different ways of generating ideas for innovations. The researchers point to some paradoxes and also some practical implications of the study. Companies can benefit from a broad and balanced approach when building the organizational ability to generate ideas:


  • Balance formal structures as clear processes, roles, and systems to add resources needed to handle informal structures
  • Finding a balance between governance and freedom, in the search for ideas, appears to be an important task for management
  • Companies should consider how to embrace an open approach to innovation to maximize the internal innovation potential while managing intellectual property issues in a thoughtful manner



Björk, J., Boccardelli, P. Magnusson, M., 2010. Ideation capabilities for continuous innovation. Creativity and Innovation Management 19 (4), 385–396.

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