Operations are the key to forward motion for everyone organization. Without efficient operations, time and resources get wasted (Eden & Ackermann, 2011) and members of the organization fall into an apathetic state of mind from feeling as though they are spinning their wheels.
Innovation is the grease that maintains the forward motion of operations. Through continuous innovations of varying degrees, organizations enjoy success through maintaining market share (Berkun, 2010).
Unfortunately, many organizations struggle to understand how the pursuit of innovation and the maintenance of operations can coexist as complimentary elements of business. This can be attributed to the fact that process of innovation is not an efficient process that, by nature, is driven by a trial-and-error approach (Berkun, 2010). Innovation is the intentional development of a specific product, service, idea, process, or environment for the generation of value (Oster, 2011). Despite the belief of the developers of a given invention or great idea, if others do not see the value and do not purchase, implement, or buy-in to a creative idea, then it does not add value. Since innovation entails great uncertainty, long-time horizons, and interdependencies across projects (Schilling, 2015), which makes predictability of a given innovations impact nearly impossible to fully predict. This causes innovation teams, regardless of the resources invested, to toss aside would-be innovation in order to start over and focus on a new pursuit of an innovation.
For ambidextrous organizations, they are able to successfully achieve this balance between efficient operations while allowing the ambiguity of innovation (Davila et al., 2012). They do this by creating various groups that focus on different aspects of operations and innovations, providing space for different cultures to exist within the same organization (Davila et al., 2012).
What are the challenges of a single organization housing multiple cultures?
Berkun, S. (2010). The myths of innovation (1. updated and expanded pbk. ed). Beijing: O’Reilly.
Eden, C., & Ackermann, F. (2011). Making Strategy: Mapping Out Strategic Success (Second Edition edition). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Oster, G. W. (2011). The light prize: perspectives on Christian innovation. Virginia Beach, Va.: Positive Signs Media.
Schilling, M. (2015). Towards Dynamic Efficiency: Innovation and its Implications for Antitrust. The Antiturst Bulletin, vol. 60(iss. 3), pp. 191–207. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003603X15598596