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Encyclopedia of Technology and Innovation Management by Gina Colarelli O'Connor, V. K. Narayanan

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Chapter 38. Promotors and Champions of Innovation: Barriers to Innovation and Innovator Roles

Sbøren Salomo[58] and Ham Georg Gemünden[59]

A lot of research and practical effort has been devoted to devising effective formal structures of supporting the innovation activities of firms. Never the less, innovation management research has continuously identified more informal mechanisms, which also play an important role in achieving and securing innovation success. Among those informal means dedicated individuals driving the innovation effort of firms have for a long time been recognized as an important factor for innovation success: "there is plenty of reason to suppose that individual talents count for a good deal more than the firm as an organization". The basic idea is that the management of innovation requires persons who commit themselves with enthusiasm and self-motivation to the new-product or new-process idea (Chakrabarti, 1974; Howell and Shea, 2001; Markham, 1998; Rothwell et al. 1974; Witte, 1973, 1977). These persons may or may not have been officially assigned to the innovation process. They do, however, show a high personal involvement in the innovative project and nurture the project often in addition to their official organizational position. Such behavior has been summarized in the concept of champion or innovation promotor roles.

The champion concept is, in its simplest form, a mono-personal concept in which the success or failure of the innovation process is attributed ...

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