Abstract

Providing an environment in which both radical innovation and continuous improvement can exist, i.e. an ambidextrous environment, is one of the biggest challenges management faces. While having an ambidextrous organisation is of central importance to the competitive advantage of a firm, there is limited understanding of how to manage it. In this article, we are reporting on our research on the design of workspaces and the relations between design and ambidexterity in innovation. We studied the workspaces as artefacts in innovation cultures. We analysed relations between users and spaces that could enable an explorative innovation culture to emerge, and found spaces related to explorative innovation that coexisted with an exploitative innovation culture in production in the manufacturing industry. The results indicate that to develop ambidexterity on an individual level in a culture dominated by exploitative innovation, one strategy is spatial differentiation. The result shows that artefacts relating to a culture for explorative innovation in the studied manufacturing companies are artefacts in a marginalised culture. We present six spatial characteristics for artefacts in the marginalised culture: undercover spaces, grey zone spaces, satellite spaces, chameleon spaces, temporal spaces and accession spaces.

Keywords:

Workplace design; explorative innovation; ambidexterity; design research; manufacturing industry

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Tool complexes of innovation: Spaces for explorative innovation in four manufacturing industrial companies

Providing an environment in which both radical innovation and continuous improvement can exist, i.e. an ambidextrous environment, is one of the biggest challenges management faces. While having an ambidextrous organisation is of central importance to the competitive advantage of a firm, there is limited understanding of how to manage it. In this article, we are reporting on our research on the design of workspaces and the relations between design and ambidexterity in innovation. We studied the workspaces as artefacts in innovation cultures. We analysed relations between users and spaces that could enable an explorative innovation culture to emerge, and found spaces related to explorative innovation that coexisted with an exploitative innovation culture in production in the manufacturing industry. The results indicate that to develop ambidexterity on an individual level in a culture dominated by exploitative innovation, one strategy is spatial differentiation. The result shows that artefacts relating to a culture for explorative innovation in the studied manufacturing companies are artefacts in a marginalised culture. We present six spatial characteristics for artefacts in the marginalised culture: undercover spaces, grey zone spaces, satellite spaces, chameleon spaces, temporal spaces and accession spaces.

 

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