Lally School of Management

Blueprint for Sustainable Innovation

Book cover of Beyond the Champion

Gina Colarelli O’Connor, professor of marketing and innovation management at the Lally School of Management, has co-authored Beyond the Champion: Institutionalizing Innovation Through People. It addresses the perennial challenges that large mature companies such as DuPont, Kodak, and GE have faced in defending against disruptive technologies and charting new pathways for organic growth.

As large companies invent far more than they commercialize, the result is underleveraged research and development investments and threats from investors to disassemble these iconic enterprises that hold treasure troves of opportunity. That need not be the case, according to O’Connor et al., if these companies can develop a capability for strategic innovation.

Beyond the Champion argues that innovation is a talent all its own that requires distinct skills and expertise, just like finance or marketing,” says O’Connor. “Viewing innovation as a discipline in its own right, it is easy to see that breakthrough wins require an organizational design with clearly delineated roles, responsibilities, and career tracks for those who shoulder the responsibility for new platforms of growth.”

Drawing on the results of a four-year study and two decades of related research, this book outlines three fundamental organizational competencies necessary for innovation: discovery, incubation, and acceleration. Mapping these organizational competencies onto roles and opportunities for advancement, the authors deliver a pioneering blueprint for sustainable innovation.

The new book is published by Stanford Business Books with co-authors Andrew Corbett, professor and entrepreneurship division chair at Babson College, and the late Lois S. Peters, former associate professor and director of the M.S. in Technology, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship program at Lally.