Corporate innovation program in a powertrain firm: a case study of implementation and evolution phases

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Puebla, México (2016)


This paper analyzes how an established firm, in the automotive Brazilian value chain, conducted a corporate innovation program to improve its capability of developing high uncertainty innovations. In recent decades, innovation has been recognized as an imperative for companies to achieve competitiveness. In this context, some literature strands, mainly based on the experience of large and technology-based firms that set new dedicated structures to manage innovation, has been pointing out that innovation gradually emerges as a new organizational function. However, Innovation Function (IF) is still an embryonic concept and demands deeper analysis of its characteristics and consolidation process. Furthermore, literature argues that setting a corporate innovation program is an alternative to start the efforts in designing such a function and learn from the first results. In this study, we present how an established firm, in the automotive Brazilian value chain, designed and implemented a corporate innovation program. As participant observers for two years, we conducted an inductive case study that led to three main outcomes: (i) a theoretical typology for innovation function; (ii) the proposition of four distinct phases to explain the evolution of the innovation program; and (iii) the identification of some constitutive elements of organizational structure to promote high uncertainty innovations.

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