Discontinuous Innovation in Supply Relationship Management: Two Cases and a Future Research Direction

Discontinuous Innovation in Supply Relationship Management: Two Cases and a Future Research Direction

Richard Lamming (University of Exeter Business School, UK) and Fu Jia (University of Exeter Business School, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-585-8.ch016
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Abstract

Innovation may be divided into two types: incremental and discontinuous (Tidd et al. 2009). The first of these refers to ‘doing what is already done but better.’ The latter may come through the emergence of a new technology, a completely new market or a new business model and refers to decision making under uncertainty. The focus of this chapter is the implementation of discontinuous innovation (DI) in supply chain relationships. The authors review two research-led projects: the development and implementation of the SCRIA (Supply Chain Relationship in Aerospace) Relationship Evaluation Tool (RET) and the development of the concept of Value-Transparency (V-T). Both projects originated in the authors’ academic research in the early 1990s and were aimed at subsequent implementation in the context of supply chain relationships. One was successfully implemented; the other was not. The authors introduce future research exploring some supply relationship context-specific barriers and enablers in the implementation of radical concepts or DI through case based research method.
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Introduction

Tidd and Bessant (2009) provide a useful differentiation between incremental and discontinuous innovation (DI). The former refers to doing what is already done but better. The latter may come through the emergence of a new technology, a completely new market or a new business model and refers to decision making under uncertainty. An example of this is contained in the well known case of the Lockheed Martin ‘Skunk works’ (Rich and Janos, 1996). The implementation of discontinuous innovation (DI) is the focus of this paper.

We review two research-led projects: the SCRIA (Supply Chain Relationship in Aerospace) Relationship Evaluation Tool (RET) and Value-Transparency (V-T) to illustrate the development of the two radical ideas and why they are radical. Both projects originated in academic research in the early 1990s and were aimed at subsequent implementation in the context of supply chain relationships.

First we shall provide some background for this research. This will be followed by reviewing literature on motivation, barriers and enablers for the implementation of discontinuous innovation. Then we shall use SCRIA-RET and V-T as two case examples, exploring the evolution of the two radical ideas. Finally we shall arrive at a further research direction.

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Background: Motivations, Barriers And Enablers To Implementing Discontinuous Innovation

In this section, we set out to discuss organisations’ motivations in implementing DI and then move on to barriers and enablers to such implementation.

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