Developing a circumstance-based innovation strategy for a midsized aerospace manufacturer : fostering intrapreneurship, opening boundaries, and seeding disruption
Author(s)Brylawski, Michael M. (Michael Mills), 1972-
Leaders for Manufacturing Program.
Deborah Nightingale and Jesper Sørensen.
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This thesis derives a seven-stage methodology and presents a case study for developing an actionable innovation strategy for manufacturing firms. The methodology is based around a careful examination of their firm's circumstances, or external context and internal praxis. How a firm should innovate is dependent on industry environment, firm activities, technology competencies, internal culture, and its networks-and this thesis aims to develop a "theory of practice" in how to do such circumstance-based strategy. Thus, unlike much of the innovation literature, which push universalistic theories on innovation (e.g., form a Skunkworks to create a new radical product) this work aims to help firms become more innovative by developing strategies unique to their conditions. The methodology has seven modules: 1) stake intent, 2) survey the industry and firm, 3) create an innovation strategy, 4) audit the firm, 5) develop the plan to reinforce the capabilities through its existing culture, 6) execute and measure the plan, and 7) periodically reflect and adjust the plan as the firm's environment change. The case study focuses on modules 2-5. The case company is a midsized aerospace manufacturing-focused firm competing in the thick of the highly competitive global aerostructures market, specializing in airframe control surfaces. It employs a variety of advanced manufacturing techniques, with an emerging focus in carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite fabrication. Undertaking the methodology, the thesis finds that the highly competitive landscape combined with the firm's current market position and capabilities suggest an innovation strategy focused on differentiation (as opposed to low-cost), high levels of collaboration (as opposed(cont.) to in-house R&D), and architectural innovation (as opposed to component innovation), with a balanced perspective on processes and products, core and new markets, and sustaining and disruptive approaches. The thesis proposes "ideal" capabilities for the company to execute this strategy, audits their current state, and proposes solutions embedded in an actionable, three-phase plan to reinforce them compatible with the firm's existing culture and networks.
Thesis (M.B.A.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management; and, (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering; in conjunction with the Leaders for Manufacturing Program at MIT, 2004.Includes bibliographical references (p. 121-124).
DepartmentLeaders for Manufacturing Program at MIT; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering; Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sloan School of Management., Mechanical Engineering., Leaders for Manufacturing Program.