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Management Assignment: Challenges Faced By Managers To Ensure Incremental Innovation


Task: You must answer one from the five questions listed below in this management assignment:
How does innovation contribute to competitive advantage? Support your answer with illustrations from both manufacturing and services. What are the challenges which managers might face in trying to organise for a long-term steady stream of incremental innovation? How are innovative capabilities built and deployed over time? Explain, providing examples of the ways in which competitive advantage can be constructed through building capabilities.

Is innovation manageable or just a random gambling activity where you sometimes get lucky? If it is manageable, how can firms organise and manage it – what general principles might they use? How might an organisation assess a portfolio of possible innovation projects? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of different approaches?


The term incremental innovation mentioned within this management assignment refers to a variety of smaller improvements that are made by a company in its existing services or products (Acemoglu, Akcigit Z Murat, and Celik, 2020). It has been observed that the low-cost improvements associated with incremental innovation help in differentiating a company from its competition based on by improving its existing offerings. Thus, it has become one of the major responsibilities of managers in business organizations to ensure a continuous occurrence of incremental innovation as this strategy can help business organizations to compete in the highly competitive marketplace. In addition to that, incremental innovation can help in satisfying the customer needs and demands, which has become the ultimate priority in the contemporary marketplace (Richards, 2021). However, it has been observed that the managers of contemporary organizations face several challenges in terms of organizing a long-term continuous process of incremental innovation due to the changing consumer preferences and market demands. This report will identify and describe the three most prominent challenges that are being faced by managers in terms of ensuring relevant incremental innovation. In addition to that, this report will also analyze the extent to which the mentioned challenges hamper the ability of managers to develop existing products and services in an organization.

The challenge of managerial support for radical and disruptive innovation
The manager of the organization is a significant part as this helps in managing the overall organizational body. It involves planning, organizing, leading, and managing the overall business tasks and performances. Radical innovation is defined as the innovation that helps the organization or the manager to destroy the previous working model and bring something new that works in improving the business and its operations. Disruptive innovation is defined as the methods that are being sued by small businesses for bringing changes and improvements by using fewer resources (Tidd and Bessant, 2018). The manager of the organization in bringing innovation does not find adequate support in bringing new strategies for business sustainability and growth. In an organization for bringing innovation, managers rely on their skilled and experienced employees for their business operations and in providing certain effective and innovative ideas for business growth and sustainability. In bringing innovation in the organization there is not any probability that it could bring positive results in business and this makes it hard for the employees to analyze it (Tidd and Bessant, 2018). One of the significant challenges the managers face in innovation, entrepreneurship, and management is that they do not have other relevant ideas that could help them to sustain in business.

There are various employees in an organization that is interested in bringing innovations and modifications to their business and want to deliver them to the organization for better business growth. The employees due to lack of communication and collaboration in the workplace with their employees bring challenges in bringing innovation in their work. For business growth and sustainability, the manager of the organization has to develop a strong communication strategy so the employees could share their ideas and concepts in resolving the organizational issue (Kinsey, 2019). In an organization, there might be conflicts in business regarding innovation and new strategy and this can bring fear this is also a significant challenge that is being faced by managers in the workplace. Innovation can be done in the workplace regarding work culture and in various businesses and there might arise that some employees disagree with the changes and this makes it hard for the managers to convince them and help them understand the business process and objectives. The managers of the organization in bringing radical and disruptive innovation face challenges like lack of executive support and this brings disruptions in the workplace and in executing the business plans (SHRM, 2022). For incremental innovations, radical and disruptive innovations are the type of changes and innovations that are being done in the workplace.

In an organization employee satisfaction is a significant factor and this allows in bringing development and growth in business. The managers of the organization face challenges regarding workplace diversity and adaptation by implementing new changes and this might not be able for all employees to adopt those changes and innovations. For example, Google during the Covid-19 pandemic there was not any possibility to make employees come office and they were allowing them to work from home. It has been identified that in the work from the home process various employees were satisfied with working from home but various other employees were not able to manage the work while working from home (Novet, 2021). This was the biggest concern and challenge for the managers to handle the employees and in conclusion, the organization and managers decided to allow employees to work from the office four to five days a week and rest from their place of choice. The strategy and innovation helped them to satisfy their employees and this brought an improvement and growth in business. The managers in an organization are a significant part and this brings various opportunities and flexibilities in business (Saroha, 2021). The managers of the organization have to bring certain effective measures to handle the organizational situations and this allows in bringing improvement and growth in business.

In an organization lack of diversity in the workplace is also a significant challenge that is being faced by managers. Employees in an organization bring various significant benefits and ideas and these need to be nurtured by managers by communicating and building a relationship with them. The manager of the organization faces challenges in satisfying them and in helping them to bring certain effective measures for more development and growth in the business (Dyson, 2019). In technological works, in an organization, the managers of the organization may face challenges in bringing certain innovations and transformations in business. Technological advancement and implementation have changed the business working process and this has helped in increasing productivity in an organization. In bringing in technological innovation the managers of the organization face challenges in installing new technologies and finding new resources and providing proper development training to employees for growth and productivity (Lekara, 2019). For the use of the latest technologies there might not be employees who are well skilled and competent for the work handling and this brings major challenges in business.

The challenge of innovation strategy lacking from the outset
In recent years, it has been observed that several innovative programs in the corporate business environment have taken place without proper innovation strategy (Purcell, 2019). The initiatives related to incremental innovation have proven to be low cost and low commitment as the initiative tends to include inadequate training and irrelevant design prints. One of the most important factors associated with incremental innovation is analyzing the market demands. The managers fail to analyze the market demands due to the diverse needs of the customers and this often results in irrelevant incremental innovation. The structure of the majority of the global organizations is based on satisfying customers from various geographical locations. This factor creates problems for the managers in terms of creating long-term strategies that can help in developing the products and services. It is a well-known fact that analyzing the market demands is an extremely complex task due to the rapid changes in public demands. Rapid globalization and digitalization are major contributors to the changing consumer demands and this is leading to managers being unable to decide on relevant strategies that can help in the process of developing the existing products and services (Schilirò, 2020). The second significant factor behind managers facing a challenge is proceeding with innovation initiatives without having a specific goal regarding the development of existing products or services. It has been observed that sometimes the managers of contemporary business organizations face difficulties in terms of creating a specific goal and this leads to them proceeding with incremental innovation strategy without any long-term plans. In addition to that, the managers at contemporary business organizations face resistance from the senior management regarding a particular goal and are also pressurized to develop the existing products or services. Long-term planning is crucial for incremental innovation because of the investment and risk associated with it (Rubin and Abramson, 2018). This factor also puts pressure on the managers to proceed with incremental innovation where the challenge is to establish a long-term strategy. The future of the business environment will rely heavily upon innovation and one of the significant challenges that the managers might face will be based on establishing relevant strategies that can deliver long-term profits. The designing of innovation strategies can also become a major cause of concern as the managers might not be able to deliver the best innovative design sprint due to the complexity involved in analyzing consumer demands.

The third major factor behind managers facing potential challenges related to developing long-term strategy associated with incremental innovation is over-dependency on technology. Despite the fact that technological developments have significantly improved business activities, sometimes technology proves irrelevant in terms of predicting or developing strategies. The long-term, strategies of business organizations are based on achieving sustainable profits and this is where the managers might struggle due to overreliance on technology. The predictions or design of innovation suggested by data analytics might prove to be irrelevant as the existing products and services in any market might not need incremental innovation. Thus, there might be adverse consequences related to the implementation of incremental innovation. The concept of incremental innovation is based on analyzing the loopholes and opportunities associated with the existing products and services (Ringberg, Reihlen, and Rydén, 2019). However, the managers of contemporary business organizations might face a dilemma between deciding upon the relevant incremental innovation strategy that will be generated by data analytics and the strategy that seems to be relevant for the managers. Therefore, the future of managers involved in implementing long-term incremental innovation strategy will face a major challenge in terms of proceeding with incremental innovation without an actual innovation strategy due to conflict between self-ideas and data analytics. Overall, incremental innovation challenges based on lacking innovation strategies can create a massive challenge for managers in terms of making the existing products or services of a company more sustainable (Mihailîua, SiminaRulea, and Titu, 2015). In addition to that, resistance from employees and senior management in terms of establishing long-term strategies for incremental innovation can significantly hamper the confidence level of managers associated with the decision-making of developing existing products and services. Therefore, it will be important to address the challenge associated with establishing incremental innovation initiatives without an actual innovation strategy.

The challenge of business development and support in structuring the organization
The integrated process of supporting an organizational structure and forming new businesses primarily carries a few methods or procedures that consist of planning the future and considering the past. There should be a balance in the authority and the responsibility of the managers and the leaders associated with the company formation (Alharbi et al., 2019). The employee data and metrics are an important factor of implementation and the managers should consider it as an integral part of creating a new organizational structure for a business. Incremental innovation is considered as a series of small innovative practices and improvements in existing business organizations related to their existing products, goods, and services (Florén et al., 2017). It is considered as a low-cost improvement system that can significantly help the new organizations in differentiating the competitive factors of the organizations while focusing on the current objectives and aims. Incremental innovation is considered an integral part of business development and structuring the organizations as it allows the business to grow and transform with the help of consumers and employees' valuable feedback and the transforming landscape of the consumer market. Incremental innovation creates various marginal improvements on the existing products which can allow scope for future business developments(Li and Huang, 2019). The marginal improvements in the existing business products can provide mileage to the organization and enhance the future business prospects of the organization. Gillette presents a perfect example of incremental innovation as it is constantly upgrading its products and services which includes a wide range of product portfolios involving razors, extra blades, heated razors, pivoting heads, and other product specifications and variations.

Other companies that involve incremental innovation in product development and innovation are Coca-Cola, Cadbury, and Sainsbury which use the innovation concept to stay ahead in the market competition (Palazzeschi, Bucci, and Di Fabio, 2018). The variables of incremental innovation are mainly focused on the development of product efficiency and competitive differentiation. Incremental innovation carries a few challenges that need to be mitigated by the managers and leaders of the organizations that involve incremental innovation prospects. The employees sometimes are not empowered to make implementations related to various changes in the product lineup or transformational aspects (Rubin and Abramson, 2018). The daily roles of various employees can be significantly affected by incremental; innovative aspects and practices which can decrease the productive capacity of the employees. A clear and complete focus on innovation will create a lack of various ideas related to the maintenance of daily operations in the organizations. Sometimes the employees are provided motivation involving rewards and recognition when they focus on incremental innovation and as a result, they lack creativity and motivation to focus on the variables including the rewards and recognition for the work. The managers sometimes do not provide incentive programs that can increase the likelihood of employee participation in producing innovative changes in the existing product line and ranges (Schniederjans and Schniederjans, 2015). Sometimes, the lack of a proper incremental innovative strategy can create various issues for the managers of organizations in developing their products. Innovation strategies primarily dictate the innovation direction and the operational implementation without which there is a certain risk of product misalignment. Incremental innovation needs to be spread across various groups in the organizations by the managers. In many organizations, it is predominantly restricted to the research and development team which conducts the transformational changes in the organizations (Rubin and Abramson, 2018). However, each department provides a unique propositional perspective regarding product development and innovations which include various modifications and transformations. Successful innovation can also be achieved by widening the horizon of the employee and departmental participation in the various organizations (Rubin and Abramson, 2018). A lack of collaboration among the teams involved in incremental innovation can also be noticed in various organizations undergoing product transformations. The lack of diversity in the teams and missed connections with the consumers are also considered significant challenges which can create an impact on the incremental innovation perspectives of various global organizations.

The report consists of various implications related to the challenges that are faced by the managers associated with the aspects of incremental innovation. Long term steady stream of incremental innovation in the various organizations can also help in focusing on the growth and development of various product transformations in the global organizations. The lack of innovation strategies is key to the development of proper incremental innovation strategies and initiatives which can provide future managerial support for the development of incremental initiatives. The innovation strategies have been implemented by the managers which can provide a considerable advantage and benefits related to the product innovations in the organizations. The various global companies like Coca-Cola, Gillette, and Sainsbury have successfully implemented various incremental innovation strategies in their range of products which has significantly contributed to the growth and development of the organizations in the global market. The series of small improvements in the manufacturing process can contribute to the development of the existing products of the organizations. Improper measurement of the innovation practices and initiatives can reduce the customer prospects along with the sales and revenue prospects of various organizations and the number of ideas generated by a collaborative team and interdepartmental effort can provide significant future benefits to the organizations on a global level.

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Schniederjans, D. and Schniederjans, M. (2015). Quality management and innovation: new insights on a structural contingency framework. International Journal of Quality Innovation, [online] 1(1). Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2022].
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