Finding, Forming, and Performing: Creating Networks for Discontinuous Innovation

by Julian Birkinshaw, John Bessant, Rick Delbridge



Most firms struggle to adapt to discontinuous changes in their environment –witness Lego’s very slow adaptation to the world of digital devices and online games. One key reason for this is that they get locked into established networks of relationships and struggle to break out of these relationships and establish new ones. This article examines the approaches firms can use to build relationships with new prospective partners that are more suited to the opportunities and threats they face in new competitive environments. It identifies the key barriers that prevent firms from accessing these “networks for discontinuous innovation” and presents specific strategies that firms can adopt to overcome them. The challenge involves three steps: finding the right partners to engage with, forming relationships with them, and then building high-performing networks. By following the guidelines proposed in this article, firms will be more likely to create high-performing networks for discontinuous innovation.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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