End-Starting the Innovation Process: How Organizations Redesigned Their Innovation Process in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Posted: 23 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 22, 2021
This paper describes how organizations innovated in response to the global ventilator shortage problem during the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovative performance of few expert organizations had fallen short and an accelerated development and execution of new ventilators was critical. In this context, we explored how organizations’ redesigned their innovation processes to address this challenge. In this comparative case study, we describe how three organizations “end-started” the innovation process, bringing forward and infusing execution elements with those of ideation at the very start of the innovation process in order to accelerate it. Prior literature has documented the challenges of transition between the “start” of the innovation process as idea generation and the “end” as execution, as the two phases are almost contradicting in nature. however, times of crisis create new conditions and in response, new processes. In this study, we observed a new process that organizations used to expedite the overall innovation process and helped to surpass the transitional challenges. We propose that end-starting the innovation process is important beyond times of crisis, as it can help to overcome the execution barriers of new product development and enable process acceleration. This study makes contributions to the literature on innovation, creativity, and temporality.
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