Fostering Continuous Innovation with Engaging IT-Assisted Transparent Information Sharing: A Case Study

  • Petri KettunenEmail author
  • Susanna Teppola
  • Jari Partanen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 370)


Continuous innovation (CI) in large, established companies aiming to both produce incremental innovations as well as to create more radical ones is complex and complicated. It is affected by many simultaneous hard and soft factors and interrelationships. One suggested way how CI performance can potentially be improved is by increasing transparency in the innovation process, through which better employee participation to the process can possibly be achieved. Modern information/knowledge management and sharing IT tools can support that in practice. In this paper, we investigate those questions in an industrial software-intensive B2B company case. The company augmented its former, formal stage-gate based innovation process with new practices in order to accelerate the business innovation decision-making with validated information. We collected empirically rich qualitative and quantitative data and analyzed it to extract a set of statements grounded on the data. Those statements suggest that it is central to engage and connect right people and key information for effective and efficient idea generation, idea development, and business incubation. However, in different phases various stakeholder feedback and expert knowledge are critical for successful innovation progress. Increased transparency supported by integrated and versatile innovation, and knowledge management IT tools can intensify them. In effect, the clock speed of the organization for connecting people, ideas, knowledge (even tacit), and business decisions is accelerated. Overall the CI process should be flexible but at the same time it should frame the central direction. Consequently, it is hard to measure CI performance fully decisively with traditional KPIs.


Continuous innovation Innovation performance Idea management system 


  1. 1.
    Ormala, E., Tukiainen, S., Mattila, J.: Industrial Innovation in Transition. Aalto University, Helsinki (2014)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tuulenmäki, A., Välikangas, L.: The art of rapid, hands-on execution innovation. Strat. Lead. 39, 28–35 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Smeds, R., Boer, H.: Continuous innovation and learning in industrial organizations. Knowl. Process. Manag. 11(4), 225–227 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tonnesen, T.: Continuous innovation through company wide employee participation. TQM Mag. 17(2), 195–207 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Pikkarainen, M., Codenie, W., Boucart, N., Heredia Alvaro, J.A. (eds.): The Art of Software Innovation: Eight Practice Areas to Inspire Your Business. Springer, Heidelberg (2011). Scholar
  6. 6.
    Paju, S.: Managing uncertainty in innovative projects: alternative for causal project plans. In: Huizingh, E., Conn, S., Torkkeli, M., Bitran, I. (eds.) Proceedings of the XXV ISPIM Conference (2014)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    O’Connor, G.C., DeMartino, R.: Organizing for radical innovation: an exploratory study of the structural aspects of RI management systems in large established firms. J. Prod. Innov. Manag. 23, 475–497 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Boer, H., et al.: Knowledge and continuous innovation: the CIMA methodology. Int. J. Oper. Prod. Manag. 21(4), 490–503 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Björk, J., Karlsson, M.P., Magnusson, M.: Turning ideas into innovation – introducing demand-driven collaborative ideation. Int. J. Innov. Reg. Dev. 5, 429–442 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Denning, S.: Reinventing management: the practices that enable continuous innovation. Strat. Lead. 39(3), 16–24 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Berner, M., Augustine, J., Maedche, A.: The impact of process visibility on process performance: a multiple case study of operations control centres in ITSM. Bus. Inf. Syst. Eng. 58(1), 31–42 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Teppola, S., Kettunen, P., Matinlassi, M., Partanen, J.: Transparency of Information to Improve Continuous Innovation Experimentation Performance. In: 17th International CINet Conference. Continuous Innovation Network (CINet) (2016)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Edison, H., Bin Ali, N., Torkar, R.: Towards innovation measurement in the software industry. J. Syst. Softw. 86, 1390–1407 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gertsen, F.: Editorial: continuous innovation. Int. J. Technol. Manag. 26(8), 801–804 (2003)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Boer, H., Kuhn, J., Gertsen, F.: Continuous innovation. Managing dualities through co-ordination. Continuous Innovation Network, Working Paper Series WP2006-1 (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Saunila, M.: Managing continuous innovation through performance measurement. Compet. Rev. 27(2), 179–190 (2017)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sandström, C., Björk, J.: Idea management systems for a changing innovation landscape. Int. J. Prod. Dev. 11, 310–324 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Väyrynen, H.: Constructing Innovativeness in the Organization: Knowledge Management and Information Technology Management Perspective. Dissertations 77. Tampere University, Finland (2019)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Saunila, M., Ukko, J.: A conceptual framework for the measurement of innovation capability and its effects. Balt. J. Manag. 7(4), 355–375 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Elerud-Tryde, A., Hooge, S.: Beyond the generation of ideas: virtual idea campaigns to spur creativity and innovation. Creat. Innov. Manag. 23(3), 290–302 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Partanen, J., Matinlassi, M.: Applying agile and lean elements to accelerate innovation culture in a large organization – key learnings after one year journey. In: Lassenius, C., Dingsøyr, T., Paasivaara, M. (eds.) XP 2015. LNBIP, vol. 212, pp. 262–269. Springer, Cham (2015). Scholar
  22. 22.
    Yin, R.K.: Case Study Research: Design and Methods. SAGE Publications, Los Angeles (2003)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Runeson, P., Höst, M.: Guidelines for conducting and reporting case study research in software engineering. Empir. Softw. Eng. 14, 131–164 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Seaman, C.B.: Qualitative methods in empirical studies of software engineering. IEEE Trans. Softw. Eng. 25(4), 557–572 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Eisenhardt, K.M., Graebner, M.E.: Theory building from cases: opportunities and challenges. Acad. Manag. J. 50(1), 25–32 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.EspooFinland
  3. 3.Bittium Wireless Ltd.OuluFinland

Personalised recommendations