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Already there? Cultivating emergent places for radical innovation in operations

Publication Type:

Book chapter


International Series in Operations Research & Management Science, Innovative Quality Improvement in Operations - Introducing Emergent Quality Management


Springer International Publishing




Each chapter is introduced by a dilemma: Company X is a company on advanced level when it comes to manage and execute incremental improvement strategies and methods. The factory premises have work places and work processes to support continuous improvement in various ways, to create a lean production. For example, there are so called improvement places with boards at the production floor used as a visio-spatial way to involve all workers in making the production more effective. Those places support incremental improvements in both being places for sharing thoughts and values between members in a work team around problem solving and externalisation of knowledge around step by step changes needed. The places are also means to train different practices of incremental improvement.On the higher management level there is quite an awareness of the need to be “more innovative” i.e. an awareness to also support radical innovation within operations. A prioritized question by the management is to create possibilities to support a more diversified production and to be agile in order to handle costumer demand. In the background there is also the awareness of urgency, knowing that a combination of both incremental and radical innovation can mean the survival for the company.Already accustomed to use the physical place to support operations, the company X creates an Innovation Lab in the premises of the production. Company X wants to create the Innovation Lab as a place where a divergent team can work out a radically new production strategy which will transform the factory. The Innovation Lab do function as a central hub for the radical change project in production... for a while. Some time after the inauguration it is slowly transformed into an office place. The people working with the radical change project also has to do other work in the line organisation and the Innovation Lab do no longer exist in the company. The indicatives to support more radical innovation is ceasing.The dilemma for Company X is that the drive for change and the curiosity to try out new things as the Innovation Lab is based in an outside-in-thinking. The company is looking for good examples and are thus “buying” an explicit part of a work process – the place – an innovation lab, but the use of the place and the practices of radical innovation has a weak organisational connection witch drain this more radical innovation effort. Imagine if Company X instead had combined their curiosity with another form of design process – starting with involving the people working there to explore implicit values, places and work processes supporting radical innovation and then codified that process as explicit in much closeness to their practices. Imagine if the places and practices that could support radical innovation are already implicitly there – at least seeds for them, but not cultivated by the management?


@incollection{Andersson Schaeffer4755,
author = {Jennie Andersson Schaeffer},
title = {Already there? Cultivating emergent places for radical innovation in operations},
isbn = {ISBN 978-3-319-55984-1},
editor = {T. Backstr{\"o}m, A. Fundin, P.E. Johansson},
month = {June},
year = {2017},
booktitle = {International Series in Operations Research {\&} Management Science, Innovative Quality Improvement in Operations - Introducing Emergent Quality Management},
publisher = {Springer International Publishing},
url = {}