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  • Writer's pictureDeepNovation

10 years of Harvard Business Review articles to get your corporate innovation lab ready toward 2030

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

Since 2011 til end of 2020, we have observed a decade of acceleration of digitalisation and customer centricity, an increase of world politic polarity, the emergence of key science and engineering (see my blog article), a consolidation of start-ups ecosystem, attracting the best talent and increasing investment from Venture Capital. To keep up with such a fast pace, It has become more and more challenging for large industry players to establish efficiently their corporate innovation activities and practices.

To explore further, I recommend the body of knowledge on corporate innovation management developed by the Swedish hub of innovation professionals:

During the last 10 years we see a trend of corporate innovation management adoption and struggle, particularly moving from high level concepts to daily implementation in dedicated companies departments. This has evolved during 4 overlapping short periods:

  1. The heritage of great theories for innovation

  2. Start-up practices and customer centricity reshape corporate rules

  3. Corporate struggle in adopting innovative practices

  4. Culture as an answer to bridge corporate and start-up mindsets

  5. to come... some successful corporate innovation use cases

Here are more than 25 articles from the Harvard Business Review covering the 2011-2020 period aiming to get corporate innovation fitted for the next decade. This is a long list and you may get lost, I recommend you read the one highlighted in bold that I found the most inspiring in my corporate innovation daily job.

Illustration: Harvard Business School campus

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2011 to 2015 - The heritage of great theories for innovation

Corporate innovation has become a sub-field of corporate strategy. In the late 90's, early 2000 many major innovation have been established for innovation (see my blog). At the beginning of 2011, you see some more theories of innovation taking place or continuous refinement of the most popular one.

2011 - The innovation catalysts by Roger Martin

2011 - For growth, new ideas aren't enough by Rita McGrath

2011 - The big idea before you make that big decision by Daniel Kahneman

2012 - Managing your innovation portfolio by Geoff Tuff

2012 - Accelerate! by John Kotter

2013 - A new model for innovation in big companies by Beth Altringer

2015 - What is disruptive innovation by Clayton Christensen

2015 - You need an innovation strategy by Gari Pisano


2012 to 2017 - Start-up practices and customer centricity reshape corporate rules

From 2012, many research are conducted around entrepreneurship as a tool for corporate innovation. The main idea is for large companies to adopt start-up best practices and mindset. In a few years, successful entrepreneurial ventures have been studied and methods have been derived such as effectuation, the lean start-up, the business model canvas, the Job to be Done...

2012 - Everyone should learn the entrepreneurial method by Saras Sarasvathy

2013 - A better way to think about your business model by Alex Osterwalder

2013 - Why the lean Start-up changes everything by Steve Blank

2015 - The innovative mindset your company can't afford to lose by Simone Ahuja

2015 - How to break up with an innovation project by Scott Anthony

2016 - Know your customers's Jobs to be Done by Clayton Christensen

2016 - The innovative power of criticism by Roberto Verganti

2017 - What your innovation process should look like by Steve Blank


2016 to 2019 - Corporate struggle in adopting innovative practices

Embracing the start-up mindset and copycat of their practices seems to not work very well in large corporation. Start-up and large corporations are too different for easily integrate each others rules and specificity. Organisations start to emerge with an inherent friction. An hybrid model needs to emerge.

2016 - 5 Mistake employees make when challenging the status quo by Carmen Medina

2017 - The boards new innovation imperative by Linda Hill

2018 - If your innovation effort isn't working, look at who's on the team by Nathan Furr

2018 - The myth of the intrapreneur by Andrew Corbett

2018 - The two questions to ask before set-up an innovation by Alessandro Di Fiore

2019 - Real innovation requires more than an R&D budget by Gina O'Connor

2019 - Why companies do innovation theater instead of actual innovation by Steve Blank


From 2019 - Culture as an answer to bridge corporate and start-up mindsets and better deal with uncertainties

While making a new corporate innovation hybrid model emerge, many solutions look at a deep culture change for bridging the start-up and large corporations mindset. Instead of blaming the organization for its lack of agility, we start to reshape the myth, beliefs and mental models using culture change approaches.

2019 - 3 ways to build a culture of collaborative innovation by Deborah Ancona

2019 - The hard truth about innovative cultures by Gari Pisano

2020 - Cultural innovation by Douglas Holt

2020 - Every company needs an entrepreneur in the c-suite by Tendayi Viki

2020 - Your company is too risk averse by Daniel Khaneman

2020 - Building a culture of experimentation by Stefan Thomke

2020 - Rescuing scientific innovation from corporate bureaucracy by Jeff Karp

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