Encouraging and enabling action research in innovation management

Publication Type:
Journal Article
R and D Management, 2020, 50, (3), pp. 380-395
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© 2020 RADMA and John Wiley & Sons Ltd Although action research offers great advantages of connecting academia and practice, it is surprisingly underutilised in innovation management. This paper, therefore, focuses on how innovation management research and researchers can more effectively and efficiently apply action research to their domain. The analysis commences with the rationale for aligning action research and innovation management before assessing the strengths and limitations of existing interdisciplinary action research approaches from an innovation management perspective. Combining and enhancing the strengths of these approaches, a new Action Innovation Management Research (AIM-R) framework is developed to assist in resolving the increasing demand for action-orientation in innovation management. AIM-R offers a structured research process for systematically applying action research as a way of encouraging rigorous research processes, while also importantly stimulating relevant practical outcomes. AIM-R specifically considers different change levels (individual, team, organisational) and objects (e.g. outcome, process, capability) critical for the multi-faceted character of innovation management. A real-world example towards the end of the article illustrates how AIM-R has been applied to a complex problem-solution space. This example adds important insights for readers wanting to apply this more engaged, but currently underutilised, innovation management research technique.
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